5 years after explosion, Charles City residents keep fireworks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

5 years after explosion, Charles City residents continue fireworks

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Independence Day draws hundreds of folks to Charles City every year, and those traditions have continued even after fireworks malfunctioned and hurt 37 spectators in 2008. Independence Day draws hundreds of folks to Charles City every year, and those traditions have continued even after fireworks malfunctioned and hurt 37 spectators in 2008.
CHARLES CITY (KWWL) -

Independence Day draws hundreds of folks to Charles City every year, and those traditions have continued even after fireworks malfunctioned and hurt 37 spectators in 2008.

Joe Knecht remembers it clearly.

"Oh, I can remember every detail of it," said Knecht, who was attending the city's fireworks display with two of his children.

"It was just a typical night and kids were running back and forth you know, having a good time watching the show, and basically all at once everything just started erupting," he said.

Investigators believe the explosion happened when a shell malfunctioned, sending a fireball into the crowd.

Knecht said people started scattering.

"I just saw a big flash and then you could see some of the shells coming across and hitting the curb and bouncing," he said.

Knecht said that, despite the dangerous situation in 2008, he continues to bring his family to the event.

"It's nothing to have a grudge over or be scared of," he said. "It'll probably never happen again, so I don't want to take away from the experience for my kids."

Members of the Charles City Fire Department turned down multiple requests for an interview about how safety has changed at the city's annual fireworks display.

One firefighter said nothing has changed since 2008, and said he didn't feel comfortable talking on camera about fireworks safety.

However, a police officer told KWWL additional roads have closed since 2008 in an effort to keep people out of the line of errant fireworks.

The police officer also said the launch site of the fireworks has changed multiple times since the incident.

The 2008 show was put on by Yarmouth-based J & M Displays. No one from the business could be reached on Thursday to comment about whether additional safety measures have been enacted since the incident.

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