Armstrong girl, 14, suffers 2nd-degree burns in fireworks accident
A Kiski Township mother was caring for her daughter on Friday after her child apparently was burned by a wayward firework at a Fourth of July display in Apollo.
Brooke Wright, 14, was the most seriously injured of three children hurt in the incident on Thursday night at Owens Field, said Brooke's mother, Lisa Culp. No information was available on the others.
Brooke suffered second-degree burns on both legs. She was treated at the burn unit at UPMC Mercy Hospital and released Friday morning.
“You take your child to something like this, a big event for the community, and you expect them to be safe there. And something like this happens,” Culp said.
The family lives along Route 56, a short distance from the Apollo-Ridge football stadium, where the seventh annual Apollo Salute to the Armed Forces program was held. The fireworks display began around 10 p.m. Fireworks were launched from the nearby Little League field.
Culp said she was outside the stadium finishing a cigarette when the fireworks started.
She said she saw a firework arch toward a concession stand, followed by a white flash and colored sparks. Her daughter ran to her from that area, said her legs hurt and fell into her arms.
“I was in a state of shock,” said Culp, who has two other daughters. “When you see your kid like that, you want to trade places with them and take their pain away.”
Program Chairman Vince Mazzon declined comment, referring questions to Pyrotecnico, the New Castle company that put on the display.
“It's a freak accident,” Mazzon said while he and other volunteers were cleaning up at Owens Field on Friday.
In a news release, Pyrotecnico said it “deeply regrets” that people were hurt. The company said it is investigating the incident and will make its findings available to the public.
A representative of Pyrotecnico did not return phone calls for additional information. The state police in Armstrong County, Apollo police and Kiski Township police, who were at the event directing traffic, all said they were not investigating the incident.
Neighbors watching the show from their homes along adjacent North Second Street said they saw what appeared to be an explosion on the ground during the show.
“It was like a bomb went off,” said Mark Lookhart, who said he and his family were watching the fireworks from the sidewalk in front of their house. A large cloud of smoke and sparks flew toward his home, he said.
“There was a lot of people screaming,” he said.
Brian Johnston, a former borough councilman, was watching from his front steps. He said the bleachers and parking lot were full for the event.
“All I saw was it looked like one went off on the ground,” he said.
Owens Field is owned by the Apollo-Ridge School District. Show organizers were required to have insurance for the event.
Superintendent Matt Curci said the district was gathering information about what happened.
“Our thoughts and prayers were with those who were injured,” Curci said.
Brooke's friends were sending her encouraging messages on Facebook. A delivery of “Get Well Soon” balloons from her friends on the Apollo-Ridge Color Guard put a smile on her face Friday afternoon.
Culp said she was upset that no one with the event or authorities had contacted her about what happened or asked how her daughter was doing. She said she has contacted an attorney.
Friends were helping Culp sterilize her home Friday to reduce the risk of infection to Brooke, who will return to the Mercy burn unit on Monday. Friends also were talking about staging a benefit to help Culp, who said she lives “paycheck to paycheck.”
Culp said she had taken her children to the fireworks display since they were babies.
“It's an every-year tradition; we go to the Fourth of July fireworks or the Moonlanding,” she said. “It's just unacceptable and unfortunate that something like this took place at a public event.”
Freelance writer Rick Monti contributed to this report. Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Steeler Boykin clarifies remarks about former coach
- Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
- Bucs’ starter Burnett says ‘surgery is not an option’
- After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
- Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
- EPA diktats: Pushing back
- Former Lincoln Park star Rowan chooses N.C. State
- Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
- Ability to clog the trenches crucial to Steelers defense
- Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
- Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions