Three children were hurt over the weekend after a cannon blast in a Utah parade malfunctioned, sending the young children to the hospital with first- and second-degree burns. The explosion occurred in the city of Orem, Utah County, approximately 45 miles south of Salt Lake City.
The children were taking part in a Civil War reenactment during Orem's Summerfest celebration. After the cannon was ignited, sparks from the explosion landed in a nearby container that had additional charges for the cannon, creating a second explosion that sent fiery debris into a group of young parade walkers.
“It fired normally the first time,” said onlooker Wayne Latu. “And then there was a second explosion, and a fireball that you saw that came out of the smoke. There were kids lying on the ground. One girl was hopping on one foot, and there was overall shock.”
Several people ran out into the parade to assist the children, who are all thought to be approximately 10 to 12 years of age.
“Originally there was just a bunch of smoke, and we saw a kid duck out from underneath and then we saw three different kids on fire,” witness Corina Johnson told FOX13. “There were people yelling to stop, drop and roll, water bottles flying so they could get some things going. Me and another nurse were sitting on the side and ran over to kind of help, I didn’t stay for a long time, doused all the kids in water, got their clothes, pulled off as much as possible and got EMT headed this way.”
Fox13 out of Salt Lake City carried a statement from the City of Orem:
The Civil War reenactment group fired the cannon on 800 East, just south of Center Street. When the cannon went off, one of the sparks landed in a large pouch that contained additional charges for the cannon. The pouch blew up, injuring all three children, who were part of the Civil War reenactment group.
The children are reported to be in stable condition.