Absurdly Low Fine for Tragic Fireworks Explosion which Killed Four Workers on Ocracoke Island | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

There appears to be a blasé attitude about fireworks explosions in North Carolina (NC). Melrose South Pyrotechnics, the company involved with the terrible July 4th fireworks explosion that killed four people and seriously injured a fifth on Ocracoke Island, was fined $44,800 due to violating 11 safety provisions. The maximum fine was NOT imposed by the Department of Labor, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

This fine is absurdly low and sends a signal that it’s okay to be lackadaisical with fireworks safety procedures. It’s especially outrageous considering Melrose Pyrotechnics was cited for safety violations that led to a 24-year-old employee getting killed in an explosion at the company’s South Carolina (SC) plant.

The fifth worker, who suffered serious burns, in the Ocracoke Island explosion, is facing a lifetime of pain and rehabilitation since 13 percent of his body is covered in third-degree burns. Does a $44,000 fine really send a message to Melrose Pyrotechnics that their safety failures are unacceptable? Will it satisfy this injured worker and provide solace that an accident of this nature won’t happen again? What about the families who lost a loved one in the fireworks explosion? This fine is a slap on the wrist.

I believe legal action is warranted in this tragic situation. Melrose Pyrotechnics has displayed an indifference to employee safety and lives have been lost due to their negligence. If the Department of Labor won’t throw the book at this company, then maybe justice will be served in a court of law.