ROCKY MOUNT, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Ozark Fireworks Festival may end an annual tradition after several people were injured Saturday night.
Guest and organizers anticipated Saturday to be a joyful and eventful night, but it ended early due to a firework explosion. The injured victims were treated by the Rocky Mount Fire Department and sent to the hospital, according to event organizers. Victims do not have visible physical injuries, but organizers confirmed there were hearing issues among the victims.
The showcase was Friday and Saturday at a private address only given to people who bought tickets. All proceeds earned from the event are given to the Fire Department.
Richard Shannon II, owner of Ozark Fireworks, is deeply disheartened by this tragic accident.
"We're very saddened that this happened," Shannon said. "It shouldn't have happened. We did everything we were supposed to do. Everything was at the right distance. This is a permitted display. We're licensed, and we have permits, and it was inspected by the fire chief."
Following the incident, many rumors spread through social media about Saturday night. Shannon cleared that no fireworks competition happens at the Ozark Firework Festival, and the mortar was aimed away from the crowd before a piece of it hit the crowd after the fireworks launched.
Organizers spent Sunday morning cleaning up the private property where the event was after the night ended early. This devastating tragedy has Shannon seriously considering never putting on a fireworks show ever again.
"This was a horrible incident that happened. And I feel very badly that it happened. I'm sick of it. I'll never shoot probably fireworks again in my life," Shannon said.
Before attending the show, guests were asked to sign a waiver.
"It's pretty much just stating that they're not responsible for any broken or damages, injuries, things like that," said Andrew Maxon, who attented Saturday's show.
Maxon witnessed the explosion happen.
"Originally, we were about a row away from where the blast was, and then we moved down before that. I looked over, and I saw the smoke, and we ran up there to make sure everything was okay, and it just was a firework that had gone rogue," Maxon said.