Deadly Blast at Florida Fireworks Warehouse Was Preventable, OSHA Says


A Florida fireworks show firm violated a number of office security rules that would have prevented a warehouse hearth and explosion final yr that left 4 staff useless and one severely burned, federal regulators mentioned on Monday.

The Occupational Security and Well being Administration ordered the corporate, Magic within the Sky, to pay $109,375 in fines after an investigation into the hearth, on Dec. 1 in Orlando, discovered that it had “failed to guard its staff by following established security protocols,” the company mentioned in an announcement.

OSHA cited 10 “critical violations,” together with a failure to soundly retailer explosive supplies, a scarcity of an emergency motion plan and a failure to develop and put in place office security procedures.

“The deaths of 4 younger staff and a fifth employee’s life-changing accidents uncovered Magic within the Sky’s systemic failures that seemingly led to a hearth and explosion the corporate might have prevented, which solely provides to the tragedy,” Audrey Windham, the performing director of OSHA’s space workplace in Orlando, mentioned within the information launch.

Magic within the Sky, which is predicated in Boerne, Texas, didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday.

On the night time of the hearth, officers mentioned that fireworks shot out of the warehouse as emergency crews tried to rescue staff who had been trapped inside.

4 staff who had been pulled from the burning warehouse died within the hospital inside days of the hearth, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

The victims had been recognized as David Gonzalez, 22; Landon Bourland, 24; Lindsey Phillips, 23; and Elizabeth Tiralongo, 22, The Sentinel reported.

A fifth worker, Lindsey Tallafuss, suffered burns over 60 p.c of her physique that left her hospitalized for months, in response to a lawsuit filed by Ms. Tallafuss. OSHA mentioned that the employees had been making ready fireworks for a present when the hearth began.

Ms. Tallafuss’s lawsuit is one in every of 5 filed on behalf of the victims that demand jury trials and that search no less than $50,000 in damages from Magic within the Sky and different defendants, together with SeaWorld, which courtroom paperwork say was a shopper of the fireworks firm. SeaWorld didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday.

OSHA’s findings appeared to assist allegations within the lawsuits that Magic within the Sky and its co-defendants had failed each to make sure that the warehouse was appropriate for the storage of commercial-grade fireworks and to warn staff of the hazards they posed.

Ms. Tallafuss’s lawsuit says that Magic within the Sky, “both by their actions or their craven indifference, approved or permitted the dealing with, transportation and storage of economic fireworks of their warehouse and of their parking zone.” The corporate, it added, “knew or ought to have identified” that doing so “was ultrahazardous and/or inherently harmful.”

The lethal hearth got here just days after an S.U.V. plowed into a fireworks store in Melbourne, Fla., about 50 miles southeast of Orlando. The motive force was killed and the influence brought about the constructing to go up in flames.

The Florida State Hearth Marshal initially led the investigation into the reason for the hearth on the Magic within the Sky warehouse, however turned it over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, WOFL-TV, a Fox station in Orlando, reported.


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