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HUBBARD Officials seek injured, witnesses



Published: Thu, July 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The fire marshal's office has used ambulance records to identify those injured in the fireworks accident.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HUBBARD -- The state fire marshal's office is having difficulty finding spectators who were injured in the fireworks accident during Sunday's Founder's Day celebration.

Two Youngstown hospitals reported that 17 people were hurt in the accident at Harding Park.

Robert Sharp, a fire marshal's investigator, said Wednesday that neither the number of the injured nor their identities can be verified.

Sharp said he wants to interview all those injured as part of the probe.

Forum Health Northside Medical Center reported eight spectators were released after treatment, and St. Elizabeth Health Center said it treated eight and transferred one to the Burn Trauma Center at Akron Children's Hospital.

Sharp said he has been able to determine that five were taken to St. Elizabeth's, three to Northside and one to Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon, Pa.

Sharp said St. Elizabeth's has not provided the names of spectators it treated. Ambulance records have helped, but some injured spectators went to the hospitals on their own.

Sharp is asking that witnesses, especially those injured, contact the fire marshal's office, (800) 589-2728, or the Hubbard Volunteer Fire Department, (330) 534-6062.

What happened

The injuries occurred about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, just before the fireworks finale.

Van Burnett, owner of Burnett Display Co. of Ravenna, which did the show, said he thinks a shell malfunctioned when it broke apart in the air, resulting in an explosion out of the side of the shell.

Sharp said one factor that is being investigated is the size of the pyrotechnics used in the display, compared with the size of the display area. The proportion is governed by state regulations.

Sharp would not reveal what has been learned about the size of the display area in Hubbard. He noted that other factors are taken into consideration, such as the angle of the mortars from which the shells are fired and direction of the shells when they are detonated.

The only person to remain hospitalized from the explosion is Tracy Mroski of Hubbard, who is at the burn center in Akron.

She is being treated for what her father, Robert, has described as hundreds of pinpoint-size burns.

Tracy Mroski's sister, Amanda, said Wednesday that her sister will remain in the hospital for another week or two.

yovich@vindy.com




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