Ten Deadly Fireworks Disasters Ever (With Photos)

The magnificent visual treats created by fireworks never cease to amaze us. The more, the better! Fireworks are like the Greek mythical creature Sirens- beautiful, yet deadly. We enjoy fireworks and praise its bright side and ignore its dark side. Here are 10 Deadly Fireworks Disasters that remind us about the age old saying, “NEVER PLAY WITH FIRE”.

10. Benton fireworks disaster (1983)

On May 1983, an unlicensed factory producing illegal fireworks exploded on a farm located on the outskirts of Benton, Tennesse. The incident took place in an old metal dairy barn on Webb’s Bait Farm. The farm, owned by Dan Lee Webb primarily grew worms and other fishing baits and sold fishing equipment. The massive explosion was caused by the detonation of a cache of M-80 and M-100 explosives, gunpowder, and other chemicals in the barn, instantly killing all the eleven workers on duty and leveling the barn to the ground.

Neighbors who witnessed the incident said that the factory exploded in a series of thunderous blast that lasted for eight or nine minutes. The blast resulted in a huge mushroom cloud over the mountains of southeast Tennesse. The force of explosion was so strong that it produced a shock wave which leveled trees as far as 100 yards away.

Mr. Webb along with David Park and Howard Emmett Bramblett decided to manufacture illegal M-80 and M-100 in the barn in December 1982. And most of the employers were Webb’s and Park’s family members. Neither the neighbors nor the authorities were aware of the illegal fireworks. All of the victims were factory workers. Out of the eleven known dead, six of them were men and five were women including Mr.Webb’s mother, brother and uncle. Later, the authorities recovered unexploded fireworks worth of $20,000 including 3/4th inch firecrackers, M-100s and six 55 gallon steel drums of chemical explosives from the site.

On April 19, 1984, Dan Lee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years prison and fined $10,000 in the federal case for manufacturing explosives without license and involuntary manslaughter.

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