Future Darwin Award Nominees - July 4th madness


July 6, 2004, 12:28 PM

July 6, 2004, 6:56AM

Two teenage boys, 7-year-old girl hurt in Fourth accidents
Gunpowder mix, fireworks to blame
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Two separate July Fourth accidents left a 7-year-old girl blind in one eye and two teens with serious burns, according to the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

The child was struck by a bottle rocket during a fireworks show Sunday night at the First Baptist Church North Channel in the 13800 block of Force, said investigator Nathan Green.

The church's congregation had gathered for a carnival after evening services, and an impromptu fireworks display was held in a nearby parking lot, set back 100 feet from the crowd, Green said. Five minutes into the show, a container holding a bottle rocket tipped over, and the device shot into the crowd.

The girl was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital and is not expected to regain sight in her right eye, Green said.

The fireworks were being set off by adults and church officials, including the girl's father, who is a deacon at the church, he said.

Earlier on Sunday, two teens were burned by exploding gunpowder at a north Harris County home. The accident happened after a group of youths took apart hundreds of shotgun shells and concocted a dangerous homemade cocktail, Green said.

The 16-year-old boys were burned when a flash fire ignited around 7 p.m. at a home in the 20700 block of Greymoss Lane near Harvest Hill, officials said. Six other teens, ages 16 and 17, were present when emergency crews arrived.

Green said there was no adult supervision at the time of the accident.

The youths had taken apart 400 .22-caliber rounds and at least one box of 20-gauge shotgun shells, pouring the gunpowder into a bowl, Green said. They then added Crystal Drano to the gunpowder and poured the mixture into a rubber glove, he said.

The youths then used a sledgehammer to grind the substance into a fine powder, apparently generating enough heat to set off the gunpowder.

One boy suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns to his left leg, right arm and face and first-degree burns to nearly all the exposed portions of his body. The other teen suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face, right arm and right leg.

Earlier in the day, the teens had thrown homemade dry-ice bombs into the street and used a videocamera to film some of their antics, Green said.

Investigators seized the empty bullet boxes, shotgun shells, bullet casings, the sledgehammer, various fireworks, dry ice coolers and the video camera. All of the youths will be brought to the fire marshal's office to give written statements and interviews.

The condition of the injured teens was not known Monday evening.


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R.H. Lee
July 6, 2004, 12:32 PM
Why do these things typically happen in the South?

Daniel T
July 6, 2004, 12:49 PM
The damage to the girl's eye was a tragic accident. It sounds like they were taking safety precautions, but an accident happened anyway.

The two boys with the gunpowder and Crystal Drano....uh, what in the hell were they trying to do? Drano is certainly a caustic compound, but is it even flammable?

July 6, 2004, 01:01 PM
"Why do these things typically happen in the South?"
DON"T go there....
:fire: :fire: :cuss: :cuss:

July 6, 2004, 01:13 PM
Also somewhere down south someone was filling plastic garbage bags with acetylene and oxygen and igniting it !!! - damage to people and property.

July 6, 2004, 01:21 PM
What's the point of the Crystal Drano?


July 6, 2004, 01:24 PM
what in the world? corrosion bomb? or were they reading the online anarchists suicide book? I mean cookbook... sorry

R.H. Lee
July 6, 2004, 01:24 PM
"Why do these things typically happen in the South?"
DON"T go there....


Just funnin' ya, CT. For once California is not the whipping boy.

July 6, 2004, 01:34 PM
...one of our brightest citizens wondered why his (illegal) 4" mortar didn't go off after he lit the fuse. So he stuck his head over the tube to take a gander. Guess what? It went off in his face. He now is at the U of M burn center in Ann Arbor.

July 6, 2004, 01:42 PM
Yanno, when I was a kid (yeah, here we go again), we used to buy real firecrackers just about any time we wanted. We laboriously took them apart and put the powder into pill bottles, drilled a hole in the lid and stuck a fuse through there. Stick the whole shebang into a sand or dirt pile on an empty construction site or quarry, and duck behind something big. Never got hurt.

But hey, we actually used to RIDE BICYCLES WITHOUT HELMETS! *gasps of horror from the crowd*

Guess we must have been "future Darwin Award" winners who missed the ceremony. :rolleyes:

- 0 -

Carlos Cabeza
July 6, 2004, 04:19 PM
Hey Y'all, watch 'is.;)

July 6, 2004, 04:39 PM
I think the crystal drano comes from those two morons reading the "Anarchists' cookbook". Apparently, some part of it involves getting crystals out of either Drano or Bleach or something to get the explodey part of plastic explosive. Of course, look on the bright side, those two imbeciles were probably gonna use it to blow up something much more valuable than their dumb-arses, so we all come out on top with two idiots in the hospital.

The girl, on the other hand, is a tragedy, and it really sucks that she lost sight in her eye due to that accident. The church staff and adults probably should have set up some sort of screen to protect the onlookers, or maybe weighed down their bottles with sand or water (a common practice, when my family sets off bottle-rockets).

Eh.. There are always stupid things that happen on the 4th, and the rest of us responsible folk who like to blow stuff up get punished for it. Anyone seeing some parallels to us Gun Owners, here?

Stupidity + Lack of personal responsibilty = legislation



CZ 75 BD
July 6, 2004, 05:22 PM

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