Children injured during cannon firing at parade in Orem

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OREM, Utah -- Children in Orem had to be rushed to the hospital Saturday night after they caught fire during a patriotic cannon firing during the city's annual Summer Fest Grand Parade.

It happened around 7 p.m. on Center Street.

Corina Johnson was one of the first people to respond to the scene. She is a registered nurse and was watching the parade when the fire took place. According to Johnson, four children were involved, one girl and three boys, all between the ages of 10 and 12. They all suffered first and/or second degree burns on their waists and arms.

A press release from Orem City stated: "The Civil War reenactment group fired the cannon on 800 East, just south of Center Street. When the cannon went off, one of the sparks landed in a large pouch that contained additional charges for the cannon. The pouch blew up, injuring all three children child(sic), who were part of the Civil War reenactment group."

Johnson described that moment.

"Originally there was just a bunch of smoke, and we saw a kid duck out from underneath and then we saw three different kids on fire," Johnson said. "There were people yelling to stop, drop and roll, water bottles flying so they could get some things going, me and another nurse were sitting on the side and ran over to kind of help, I didn't stay for a long time, doused all the kids in water, got their clothes, pulled off as much as possible and got EMT headed this way."

Johnson said three of the children were transported to the hospital. She said none of the injuries were life threatening but she said she wouldn't be surprised if they spent a day or two in the hospital. The press release stated the extent of the injuries to the children is unknown but stated all three children were in stable condition when they were transported.



  • Brian Christiansen

    i will clear things up a little here , was i there . yes i was i was one of them , i am usually the one firing the cannon , we feel sick this happened several of us are in shock as well , i have been helping with this group for 40 years and have fired that cannon hundreds of times , the only thing we can think of is the fuse that lights the cannon went up in the air and when it came down it landed in the pouch that holds the powder,it is shut when the cannon fires , after it fires we swab the cannon with water before reloading , the child carrying the pouch came up to the cannon , opened the pouch just as the ash fell in , the powder is in plastic baggies , we use to use foil , but that caused another problem 38 years ago in provo , as the powder isn’t contained it was a flash of flame than went out , yes the kids are burned we feel horrible and sick , if we ever do this again we WILL have changes for safety , at no time the kids had any flame source this was a tragic accident . it happened so fast that until i saw the vid i didn’t know for sure what happened and i was 10 feet away watching it , we are sad this happened and are praying for the kids the help the kids was fast water was poured onto melted uniformes as it was a flash flame i never saw any flame after the flash , i will not describe injuries other than to say burns mostly hands and legs

    • Will

      As a living historian and someone who has worked on an artillery crew, the problem was what you just stated. Artillery ribs are supposed to be in plastic baggies and the WRAPPED IN FOIL MULTIPLE TIMES! This tragedy could have been prevented but idiocy prevailed. If you would have followed NSSA rules and Living History Association rules, this could have been prevented.

    • Will

      Melted uniforms? There was a reason uniforms were wool back then, WOOL DOESN’T MELT! This is ridiculous.

    • Steve McNally, Captain, Wiedrich's Battery I, 1st New York Light Artillery

      As a Civil War Artillery reenactor from the east, PA. I cannot believe you do not roll your rounds in Heavy Duty Aluminum foil. Just unbelieveable. You must have a Death wish, I guess. Artillery rounds in the east are wrapped with Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, commercial grade, not the stuff you buy in the grogery store. A sheet is folded three times, then wrapped round a tube three times,one end is sealed, powder added, and then the other end is folded and rolled shut. You have to go threw 9 layers of foil with a round wrapped this way. A plastic baggy, unbelieveable. My rounds don’t go off until, I set them off. Hope the kids recover, 100 %. Another rule we have in the east is no one under 16 works on the guns

      • Brian Christiansen

        we use to use foil , but another accident in provo stopped that as the cannon is fired it leaves layers of foil and after firing multiple rounds and swabbing the guy loading it lost 2 arms and an eye as it discharged , no more foil for us , also we didn’t want foil as a projectile , see we cant win either way

  • deedee2die4

    Civil War reenactments in Utah? Why? Weren’t even a state then. Maybe the Utah T-Baggers can claim the South’s racism?

    • Bob

      were you aware, DEEDEE2EIE4, that the people who settle this area were opposed to slavery? Were you even aware that there were two sides fighting that war? What’s with your racism rant?

    • Robert Laurel

      Dude give it a break will ya, does everything have to do with Obama and republicans and tea party. My god you have 4 kids that were hurt show some class and compassion. Oh wait libs don’t have compassion they support abortions, shame your mother didn’t follow up on having one.

      • deedee2die4

        I wasn’t talking Republicans, Obama nor abortions. And it wasn’t the mid 1800s that ended the doctrine of racism in the home of the LDS, it was the 1970s!

    • Robert Laurel

      Oh wait, you’re a chick, sorry I called you dude. But with a lib chick it’s hard to tell anyway. Hairy armpits and legs and all. By the way, nice ink, shows real class. LOL

      • BB

        May your beautiful afterlife in eternity be spent cradled in the hairy-pitted arms of a thousand aged hippie chicks. Hippies and liberals are not the same, but I guess in a world without gray, you wouldn’t know that. Being insulting on a comment section also shows real class. “Oh wait” (how overused) this is FoxNews, what the heck I am doing here in the shallow end anyway.

      • deedee2die4

        LOL to your own low brow, stereotype humor? I’d say try harder but why? You got nothing but ‘kill the messenger’ with nonsense, bye!

  • John

    Speaking as someone who has been working with a Revolutionary Cannon for almost 5 years, having children anywhere near that is something we NEVER do or will do whenever we are preparing to fire. And having charges anywhere but inside a rubber container with the lid closed until ordered to open it, is just asking for an accident. Your negligence threatens all of us that do it right.

  • Robert Laurel

    It’s the fault of the NRA. Allowing people to have cannons. We need better field artillery control. What’s next howitzers? Was it an automatic cannon?

  • UR Schmucks

    I don’t care how well their safety measures are, people should be cleared away from a cannon being discharged. I smell several law suits coming.

  • G Dailey

    “we use to use foil , but another accident in provo stopped that as the cannon is fired it leaves layers of foil and after firing multiple rounds and swabbing the guy loading it lost 2 arms and an eye as it discharged , no more foil for us , also we didn’t want foil as a projectile , see we cant win either way………”
    Brian that’s the reason to worm out the tinfoil after each firing to eliminate the foil build-up…no embers no projectile down range. Were you using pimers or cannon fuse and linstock???

    • Steve McNally, Captain, Wiedrich's Battery I, 1st New York Light Artillery

      You worm after every shot and remove the foil, then wet sponge, dry sponge. Who ever trains you guys is doing a very BAD job. Two accidents is living proof of that.

  • bob

    For one of the cannon crew to comeout and say the powder charge box was not secure or a safe distance from the cannon is just wrong this group needs read NSSA rules and regs for firing a black powder cannon . These have been in use at most any cannon shoots for many many years and were put into place for everyones safety, and have a proven track record. What realy sad is this happend and as a cannoneer myself my heart goese out to those hurt and wish thebest fastest recovery
    Safety first always

  • bob

    Brian use your worm after each shot wet mop dry mop and wait 3 to 5 mins use tin foil double wrap and depending on the bore size use plastic baggy as well several vids on utude show
    You how
    Be safe not sorry

  • Ethan

    Listen, I don’t want to dog on y’all but there were so many safety violations, I do living history reenactments and im an artillerist and also a captain of my own gun and crew. First off that boy should have been 25 feet behind the gun with a sealed cannon box with ALL charges IN the SEALED cannon box before the gun was fired and that box NOT be opened till the gun was fired, cleared, wormed, sponged and 3 minutes passed. I’ve been in it 5 years now and been working with men who have been doing it 10 times longer. Plastic bags? No. Death wish. Heavy tin foil is the way to go. With proper worming and sponging we have NEVER had a problem. Several charges in carry bag at once? Death wish. Charges even close to the gun immediatly after shot goes off? Stupid. Im sorry but its true. “Safety” fuses? No. We use quills they work flawlessly and safely. Wool is REQUIRED on my crew, you don’t have wool? Your not going near my gun. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY. We are hosting a cannon school at surfside Texas, this september. Get certified, stay safe, God bless.

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