at Arizona fireworks plant destroys building
February 18, 2005
Havasu City, Ariz. -- An explosion in a small building
at the Havasu Pyrotechnics facility on Victoria Farms
Road destroyed the building and injured one person.
John "Bill" William Darson of
Walnut Creek was inside the structure weighing a type
of finely ground black powder explosive when the material
flashed in his face. He quickly turned his head away from
the flash and ran outside when a five-gallon plastic bucket
filled with the material blew up behind him, consuming
"It was an unfortunate accident,"
Darson said. "I was lucky to get out of the building."
Fire officials at the scene said Darson
suffered first- and second- degree burns on his arm. The
hair on the back and front of his head was also singed.
Lake City Fire Department Investigator,
Tom Hutter, said he believed that by using a metal scoop
to transfer black powder from the plastic bucket and pour
it into a metal bucket that was sitting on the scale,
Darson created a static charge that ignited the powder.
"That was all it took," Hutter
said. "He's very lucky to have been outside the building
when it happened."
Brett Valory, who was one of three other
people at the scene, was inside another structure about
100 feet away when he saw a 25-foot fireball erupt from
Darson's building. He said he was relieved when he saw
his friend walking away mostly unscathed.
"I can't believe he got out when
he did," Valory said.
Desert Hills Fire Department was first
on the scene not long after the call was made at 2:27
Officials opted to let the fire burn itself
out for safety reasons, as it posed no risk to nearby
structures. The building was reduced to a pile of ash
and rubble that burned for well over an hour.
No other people were injured in the accident.