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3 fireworks employees injured during Waukesha Fourth of July fireworks

Low angle, defocused, close-up of fireworks in a black sky.

WAUKESHA — On Friday, July 5, fire officials from the City of Waukesha released details related to two fireworks-related incidents that occurred on the Fourth of July. Three fireworks contractors were injured during the first incident, and a residential garage started on fire during the second incident.

Around 9:55 p.m., the Waukesha Fire Department was standing by at the City of Waukesha fireworks show at the Waukesha County Fairgrounds. Midway through the show, before the finale, a shell unintentionally detonated on the ground in its launching vessel. This detonation caused several other surrounding shells to detonate.

A total of three individuals were injured by the unintentional detonation. All people that were injured were employees of Speilbauer Fireworks Inc., who the City of Waukesha contracted for the show. The three injured employees received minor injures, and all were treated on scene by the fire department. The three injured employees refused further treatment or transport to the hospital.

The fireworks show did eventually resume after a 15 minute delay in the show. The show concluded without any other incidents. No spectators or city staff were injured following the shell detonation.

Around 12:41 a.m., the Waukesha Fire Department responded to a reported garage fire near Newhall and Tenny Avenues. Crews arrived on scene around 12:47 a.m. and reported a working fire on the exterior of a detached garage at that location. Fire department crews quickly brought the fire under control around 12:52 a.m.

The fire was determined to have started in the trash cans that were stored on the exterior of the garage. Individuals were noted in the area shooting off fireworks approximately an hour before the incident, but all individuals interviewed by police and fire officials denied placing anything in the trash can where the fire started.

The incident is still under investigation, and the initial damage estimate is around $30,000.

The City of Waukesha Fire Department reminds all members of the community that most fireworks are illegal to shoot off in the City of Waukesha.

“A general rule of thumb is anything that leaves the ground is not allowed to be shot off in the City of Waukesha, without a City of Waukesha permit. These permits cannot be bought at a fireworks stand,” stated Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Hoffman. “As demonstrated yesterday at our own community’s fireworks show, fireworks even in the hands of professionals can cause injuries and have unexpected results.”

The fire department reminds everyone, that whenever you dispose of items in trash cans, make sure they are cool to the touch.

“We recommend placing sprinklers and other hot materials in a bucket of water and allow them to remain there overnight to ensure that they are out, before disposing of them in any trash container,” continued Hoffman.

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