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Civil War re-enactment cannon explosion sends kids to the hospital

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OREM, Utah — What was supposed to be a celebratory lesson in American history has sent three children to the hospital Saturday evening in Utah.

They were a part of a Civil War re-enactment group watching a parade in Orem, Utah, when a cannon set off an explosion Saturday. Witnesses said two of the three children injured were initially engulfed in flames, according to KSTU.


Children had to be rushed to the hospital Saturday night after a horrific accident during a patriotic cannon firing during the city’s annual Summer Fest Grand Parade. Click here for more from KSTU in Salt Lake City

“When the flames went up in the air these three children started crying. One little girl’s clothes were on fire, we’re told,” witness Brittany Tait said. “People were running with water to douse her.”

The blast happened at the start of the parade when the cannon was fired, and a spark landed on a pouch containing additional charges for the cannon, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety said. The smoldering ember set off the contents of the pouch, blowing it up and injuring all three children, the press release explained.

Corina Johnson, a registered nurse who was watching the parade when the tragedy occurred, was one of the first to respond.

“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,” Johnson told KSTU. “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.”

Johnson said four children, one girl and three boys, all between the ages of 10 and 12, suffered first or second-degree burns on their waists and arms.

The extent of the children’s injuries was not immediately known Sunday, but authorities said they were in stable condition when they were transported to a nearby hospital.

1 Comment

  • Tom Crawford

    This was a parade, not a reenactment, absolutely no safety here, children can not be used in the gun crew or untrained members, A canvas pouch ( Haversack)? Not a proper powder pass box. Where is the owner of this “replica”it is not a proper cannon, the owner and parents here are fully responsible for this negligence occurrence. The uniforms “melt “would mean poly type material, again not re enactors or living historians, very tragic, but reaffirms why civil war gun crews train and practise safety. To use plastic baggies for additional charges! Again this person is criminally liable for handing a child a bomb.

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