Police probe deadly fireworks blast at Michigan resort
'We're trying to determine what went wrong'July 27, 1997
Web posted at: 9:19 p.m. EDT (0119 GMT)
CHARLEVOIX, Michigan (CNN) -- One man was killed and 15 people were injured by an explosion during a popular fireworks display as thousands of spectators looked on, police and hospital officials said.
Several people remained in the hospital Sunday after the blast, which occurred late Saturday and spewed debris through a crowd. Charlevoix, a popular vacation and boating spot, is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the northwestern corner of Michigan's lower peninsula.
A 43-year-old Charlevoix man who was watching the fireworks with his family died after the fireworks exploded during the show about 11 p.m. Saturday, Police Chief Dennis Halverson said. His identity was not immediately released.
Many of the injuries occurred when a plate glass window they were seated next to shattered from the explosion. U.S. Coast Guard officials at Sault Ste. Marie said injuries included head trauma, severed limbs, shattered bones and lacerations.
One person was in critical condition. Five others were listed at two hospitals in the area in fair condition, and another person was in serious condition. Eight people were treated and released.
"The people ... are all being treated for lacerations and injuries related to flying debris," said Hospital spokeswoman Dixie Cosier. "We were told there were a lot of people covered with glass or with small pieces of glass embedded in their skin."
The explosion took place on one of the trailers being used to set off fireworks, Michigan State Police Lt. Richard Killips said. The show continued after the explosion as operators didn't realize the extent of injuries around them, Halverson said.
"We're trying to determine what went wrong," Killips said Sunday afternoon. "We don't have a reason why the explosion occurred."
The fireworks, part of an annual Venetian Festival, were set up by Fireworks North, a Central Lake business. The fireworks were launched from trailers parked at the edge of Round Lake on the docks of the Beaver Island Boat Co.
State Police Sgt. Mike Tilley said the four people operating the fireworks were interviewed. He said three agreed to take breath alcohol tests and to searches of their vehicles. The fourth refused both requests, he said.
A state police diving team Sunday searched the water for debris. Police also requested videotapes of the display that any spectators might have taken.
Police said they did not know how many people were watching the event, although Lewis said about 10,000 people were thought to be in the city for it.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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