37 hurt in Iowa fireworks accident

A Fourth of July fireworks shell misfired in a northern Iowa town, sending a fireball skidding down a street into a crowd of spectators and injuring 37 people, officials said Saturday.

Most of the people treated after the Friday night accident in Charles City suffered minor injuries, city fire department spokesman Eric Whipple said.

It appears there was a misfire involving 13 racks of firework tubes during the finale of the city-sponsored show, Assistant Fire Chief Dave Boehmer said Saturday.

Officials didn't yet know why the fireworks malfunctioned, Boehmer said. Inspectors from the state fire marshal's office in Des Moines visited Charles City on Saturday.

Witnesses told the Charles City Press that a large fireball veered toward the crowd gathered downtown.

Brenda Schweiger was at the fireworks show.

“My exact thought was, ‘This is it, we're going to die,'” she said.

The city of about 7,800 people is 125 miles northeast of Des Moines.