Fireworks Company Says Product Malfunction Caused Explosion

HUBBARD, Ohio (AP) - A faulty firework might have caused an explosion that injured spectators during a show at Hubbard's Founders Day celebration, the company setting off the display said.

Fire Chief Dave Kyle said a miscue is a possibility. The injuries occurred about 10:30 p.m. Sunday at Harding Park in the Youngstown suburb, he said.

Two people remained hospitalized Tuesday, one in St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center and another in the Burn Trauma Center at Akron Children's Hospital. Several others were treated and released.

"I was doing my job," said Van Burnett, owner of Burnett Display Co., of Ravenna. Burnett, who has been shooting fireworks for 30 years, told The (Youngstown) Vindicatorthat he thinks one shell malfunctioned and broke apart too soon.

Burnett said four minutes of the half-hour display remained when the spectators were injured.

Robert Sharp, an investigator with the state fire marshal's office, said Burnett is cooperating with the agency's inquiry.

Sharp planned to begin interviewing injured people Wednesday.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)