BOARDMAN Fire marshal ends probe on fireworks
Attorneys must decide whether to take action against B.J. Alan Fireworks, whose display injured a woman in June.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The state fire marshal's investigation into a fireworks accident that sent a township woman to the hospital earlier this summer is complete.
Now attorneys must decide if there will be further action taken against a local fireworks company.
In the late hours of June 24, Robert Hyde and his wife, Tonya, were watching a fireworks display by B.J. Alan Fireworks of Youngstown at the home of another family member after a church festival.
Fallout from the aerial show began hitting the driveway at the Westview Drive home.
The fireworks were set off from behind Boardman Center Middle School on Market Street.
Charles W. Hyde, the homeowner, told police several items were damaged including a yellow blanket, a cooler and clothes worn by Tonya Hyde.
Injury: Tonya Hyde was wearing a denim jacket that was burned through in several places. She was burned on her left inner forearm and was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for treatment.
Robert Hyde told authorities he too was struck by the falling debris, but reports said he had no physical signs of injury.
J. David Schroeder, administrator of the state fire marshal's office, said the investigation showed the device responsible for the accident had "a stability problem" that caused the device to move from its planned placement.
Schroeder refused to elaborate on the situation until the legal department reviews the findings.
Once attorneys have finished reviewing the findings, Schroeder said a decision will be made to either notify the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office for possible criminal charges against the company responsible for the device, reprimand the company administratively by suspending its license, or close the case with no criminal or administrative penalties to the company.
Investigation: Schroeder said officials are carefully looking at each area of the accident because reported injuries from licensed fireworks displays are down this year. There were 18 injuries reported in 2000.
"That was the only incident we have had from a licensed show in the last year, so, needless to say, we are paying close attention to the situation," said Schroeder. "The circumstances surrounding this type of case will be used in future training."
Members of the Hyde family could not be reached to comment. Robert Hyde said at the time of the accident that the family would not comment until consulting with an attorney. He did not rule out the possibility of a lawsuit.
B.J. Alan officials at the time of the accident said the company is "terribly sorry" about the accident but stressed that all local and state guidelines were followed in preparing for the show.