The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, July 06, 2021 1:00 am

Fireworks go off in car downtown; no injuries

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Some spectators of downtown Fort Wayne's Independence Day fireworks show got a front-row seat to an unexpected pyrotechnic display when firecrackers began exploding inside a car.

A video taken by an onlooker along Main Street captured the moment Sunday when red and blue fireworks shot out of a vehicle pulled over in a westbound lane.

It happened about halfway through the 20-minute professional 10 p.m. show atop the Indiana Michigan Power Center a few blocks away, according to the Fort Wayne Fire Department's activity log.

Occupants told authorities the fireworks began exploding in the car, and they stopped and exited the vehicle before anybody was injured, Deputy Chief Adam O'Connor said Monday.

He described the location as Main Street between Calhoun and Harrison streets.

Fire investigators determined the incident was accidental, O'Connor said.

He stressed fireworks safety. People should “transport fireworks somewhere besides the passenger compartment of the vehicle, and to always keep them away from smoking materials and other sources of ignition,” O'Connor said.

The fire department responded to several reported structure fires Sunday, which isn't unusual, O'Connor said. He didn't know whether any were directly related to fireworks.

In neighboring Huntington County, a 41-year-old Hartford City man died early Sunday after being struck by fireworks shrapnel.

Steven E. Sims was pronounced dead at the scene despite lifesaving efforts at a property northwest of Warren near the Salamonie River, the coroner's office has said.

The mortar shell exploded inside the tube, causing the pressure to breach the tube's side, an initial investigation showed.

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