Cannon Explodes, Kills 8-Year-Old Boy At Grandfather's Fourth Of July Celebration In Wash.

Thursday, July 5th 2007, 4:02 pm
By: News On 6

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ A small cannon exploded as it was fired during a Fourth of July family gathering, killing an 8-year-old boy in one of several serious accidents involving holiday celebrations, sheriff's deputies said Thursday.

The boy was hit by a piece of metal about 8 p.m. Wednesday while standing about 100 feet from the cannon, said Jim Chamberlain, chief criminal deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. Other shrapnel was hurled 234 feet, he said.

``Why someone else wasn't injured, I don't know,'' Chamberlain said.

The boy, whose name was not released, died about an hour and a half later at a hospital in Olympia, authorities said.

The blast occurred at the home of the boy's grandfather in a rural area about six miles south of Olympia, Chamberlain said. Nine adults, including the boy's parents, and seven children were at the party.

Chamberlain said investigators were trying to determine when, where and how the cannon was manufactured. He said it was about 1 1/2 feet long with a barrel 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Investigators found a large number of unexploded fireworks and were trying to determine whether any of them or the cannon were illegal, Chamberlain said.

In Michigan's Independence Township, about 30 miles northwest of Detroit, an explosion that could be felt blocks away injured two brothers who authorities believe were trying to make fireworks in a maintenance building at an apartment complex.

Andy Impola, 31, was in critical condition and Lee Marvin Impola, 32, was in serious condition Thursday following the Fourth of July blast, authorities said.

``Obviously something went wrong, we're not sure if it was static electricity or they did something else stupid,'' Oakland County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin McCall said.

Authorities believe the two men, whose identities were not released, were using explosive powder to build fireworks but said the explosion was under investigation.

At Fort Stewart, Ga., two pyrotechnic workers were injured during a fireworks show when many of the fireworks exploded on the ground at once, forcing the Army post to halt the display.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Thursday that neither of the workers was badly hurt.

In Florida, a woman and her 5-year-old son suffered minor injuries when a man lit a firecracker in a fireworks stand in Port Richey, setting off a chain reaction of hundreds of fireworks.

Tony Glenn Rogers, 39, of Tampa, was arrested on arson charges and was being held on $51,000 bail Thursday, Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said. Deputies were searching for another suspect. It was unclear from court and jail records Thursday whether Rogers had a lawyer.

In St. Pete Beach, Fla., a mortar from a fireworks show triggered an explosion that shattered 22 windows at a motel. Four people at the motel were cut by flying glass and eight working on the fireworks show suffered minor injuries, city spokeswoman Natalie Strong said.