Accidents February, June and July 2014

12 February 2014 -  Brazil

140212-02 Minas Gerais, Papagaios. A team of Grupo de Ações Táticas Especiais da Polícia Militar Special [GATE – Tactical Actions Group of the Military Police] left Belo Horizonte on February 12, bound for Papagaios, in the State Central region, to detonate about 30 kilograms of explosives. The material was found in a slate factory by a couple of waste scavengers. They took the explosives to the police headquarters of Papagaios, which called in GATE.

According to the Military Police, there were sticks of dynamite from manufacturing and marketing subsidiaries of the army. The packages containing the dynamite had entries and barcodes that can assist Civil Police investigating the manufacturer and purchaser.

The GATE took charge of the disposal of explosive material after contact with the Brazilian Army Section of Sete Lagoas, responsible for supervision of explosives in the region. Police were still unaware of how the explosives came to be at the abandoned factory.

22 February 2014 - USA

140222-02-B TN, Toone. Kilgore Flares. Hardeman County Sheriff Doolen confirmed that there has been another explosion at the Kilgore Plant. [An explosion apparently occurred on February 15, Ed.] The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Public Information Officer Special Agent Michael P. Knight said a federal search warrant was executed at the business. He said the ATF National Response Team had been activated and would begin processing the scene on February 23. Knight said Kilgore would not let investigators onto the plant because Kilgore wanted to protect trade secrets first before anyone came in.

More than six hours after the explosion was reported inside the Kilgore Flares plant, local, state and federal authorities were still trying to get inside the plant to investigate. Later that evening, the ATF served a federal warrant to get inside the plant, said Michael Knight, public information officer with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF confirmed a second explosion occurred about 21:30. The ATF said there were no injuries from the second explosion.

Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen said that until they served the warrant, Kilgore was not allowing authorities to enter the building to investigate the explosion, which critically injured one employee. Knight said the ATF National Response Team had been called in, and: “The scene will be secure this evening, and processing will begin tomorrow afternoon.” Doolen said they were called about the first explosion at 10:51, and first responders were able to get onto the scene and take the injured employee to the hospital. The Kilgore employee suffered severe burns and was flown to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. He remained in critical condition. Kilgore makes infrared decoy flares for the military.

Doolen said the company was not cooperating with authorities, adding: “I believe the family of the injured deserves better than this. … We could have already been gone by now, but we’re still here and we’ll be here until the investigation is complete.” Doolen said he did not know what Kilgore officials were doing inside the plant while officers waited outside on the parking lot.

Vice President and General Manager of Kilgore Chuck Stout released a written statement saying Kilgore would cooperate with law enforcement, saying: “Kilgore is in the process of gathering the facts as to what happened and will cooperate fully with the federal, state and local authorities in that regard.”

Doolen said officers were frustrated that they could not get inside the building, adding: “But there are laws in place that will assist us in doing this, and we’re going to do a thorough investigation. We’ll be here for a while.” Doolen said Kilgore gave him and other officials several reasons why they were not letting authorities inside, but: “I don’t believe all of them.” Doolen would not say what any of those reasons were.

In September 2010, three people were severely burned in a flash fire at the plant and were airlifted to The Med in Memphis. [HInt 10-09a, 100914-05.] One other employee was taken to a local hospital and treated for stress. Erika [J], one of the employees burned in that fire, died about a year later. A heavily censored report released by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not state a definitive reason or cause for the September 2010 explosion. Investigators had said they believed it started because of an electrostatic discharge. The report did state that the 2010 incident was likely more serious because at least one worker had an excessive amount of flammable materials in a work station when the fire occurred.

Kilgore was cited for 14 violations in the investigation of the September 2010 incident. The company was fined $348,000 in March 2011. It received four wilful violations, each carrying a $70,000 fine, and 10 serious violations for different amounts that totalled an additional $68,000 in fines.

In April 2011, three more employees were injured in another incident [HInt 11-04a, 110413-01.] – two were burned and one was knocked unconscious.

In February 2005, an equipment problem sparked a fire in a remote barricaded area. [HInt 05.02a, 050209-07.] There were no injuries.

On February 25, it was reported that the man who was severely burned in the explosion had died. Physicians said he suffered third degree burns over 90% of his body.

27 February 2014 -  South Africa

140227-01-B Limpopo, near Mokopane. Five people – including four police officers – were reported to have been killed in an explosion on the N1 near Mokopane. Police spokes Hangweni Mulaudsi said the officers were attending the scene when one of the trucks carrying explosives detonated.

In a statement released by the Acting Government Communication and Information System CEO, Phumla Williams said: “It's a sad day for government and the people of the country to have lost men in the line of duty. Government offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Government is confident that the South African Police Service will thoroughly investigate the incident.”

In a separate statement, Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa also offered his condolences to the families of those who died.

According to later reports, it was understood that a grocery truck collided with another truck carrying blasting cartridges at around 01:00 on the road between Mokopane and Polokwane. Police were called to the scene, and the truck carrying the cartridges exploded shortly after they arrived. The four officers were killed instantly.


Please note that ILITY, the company providing us the overview of all Fireworks & Explosives’ Accidents, have informed us that they have encountered several issues and difficulties over the last months, leading to a lot of missing information between March and June 2014, hence the gap between end of February and end of June. They have promised us however to update that information as soon as possible. As soon as we receive it, MSIAC will update the website accordingly.


28 June 2014 - India

140628-10 Bangalore, Channapatna. A constable undergoing arms training at the Karnataka Police’s Channapatna firing range sustained injuries when the outdated rifle he was firing exploded. A constable attached to the crime team of Kamakshipalya police, was at the range along with 219 other police as part of the department’s regular training, when a .303 Lee Enfield rifle malfunctioned and exploded in his left hand. The victim told national media: “We were supposed to be there by 05:30, but a delay saw us reach there by 07:30. We were divided into groups of 10, with each man getting 30 rounds. I was in the last batch and by the time I got the rifle, at least 200 rounds had been fired from the rifle, as a result of which it had heated up... After I fired 19 rounds, the barrel exploded in my hand.” He was rushed to the Channapatna government hospital, and later shifted to Hosmat Hospital, where is recuperating.

Dr Ajith Benedict Rayan, vice-president of Hosmat, said: “[the victim] underwent an emergency surgery to fix the fracture dislocation using an external fixator. He will be discharged in a couple of days. He may need skin grafting. He can use his left hand in a couple of weeks.”

The .303 rifle is still the mainstay of the Karnataka police, and is the popular one that one gets to spot in the hands of constables doing night rounds or on sentry duty. Training on the .303 rifle is part of the department’s outdoor, physical training and arms training. Another constable said the training happens once in three months. The arms training has three parts: theory, .303 firing and firing with revolver/pistol. The outdoor physical training includes, training on karate, night trekking, capsule course on rock climbing and modern weapon training, which happen less frequently than the .303 rifle training.

30 June 2014 - India

140630-03 State of Rajasthan, Bundi district, Jhakhmund village. At least four persons were killed and three others injured when a tractor-trolley loaded with explosives meant to be used for mining exploded in Bundi district. The incident occurred at a stone mine in Jhakhmund village in Talera police station area of the district.

According to Talera police station SHO Sanjay Royal, two children were among those killed. The injured were rushed to a government hospital in Kota. Police said several mining labourers, along with their family members, were sitting near the tractor when the explosion took place around 17:00.

12 July 2014 - Spain

140712-05 Province of Pontevedra, Ponte Caldelas municipality. Minutes before 13:30 an explosion occurred in one of the trucks involved in the procession of the Feast of San Cristobal de A Lama. The procession had left A Lama at 13:00, once the mass had ended. After the open vehicle came the procession carrying the holy [Holy what? Ed.] and then the fires trucks and musicians. The route they do every year is A Lama, Aguasantas (Cotobade), Ponte Caldelas and A Lama.

The explosion and fire left seven wounded. The most serious, the president of the festival committee of A Lama, who was the person who threw the bombs from the truck, was evacuated by helicopter to University Hospital Complex of A Coruña (Chuac) in “very serious” condition, according to the 061, burn. Late in the afternoon the health centre provided the medical condition. He suffered burns of second and third grade, and remains admitted to the burn unit in “serious” condition.

The incident left six others injured who were taken in three ambulances and treated at the hospital Montecelo, Pontevedra.

15 July 2014 - Burkina Faso

140715-04-A Ouagadougou. Four people were killed and dozens wounded when an illegal explosives cache blew up accidentally in Ouagadougou. National security head Omer Batiolo told reporters: “Two of the dead have been identified and parts of human remains have been found in the rubble belonging to two [other] people.” He said 32 of a reported 38 people injured in the explosion had been taken to hospital. A medical source said seven people were in a serious condition, including a woman who underwent emergency surgery. Batolio said the explosives had been intended for use in illegal mining operations. The blast damaged or destroyed 21 houses within a 100m radius, he said.

On July 19, Lieutenant Issa Paré, in charge of the investigation, confirmed that that the owner of the warehouse had been arrested, but there was no suggestion of terrorism. He said the man had stored, in a rented house: “Fifteen cartons of rubber [sic] of type Goma 2ECO, five rolls of electric wire and safety fuse of type Riocord, and two cartons containing 5,000 detonators of types Electric detonator et Plain detonator.”

Lieutenant Paré said that on July 15, around 18:00, the proprietor sent two persons to remove certain items for a client. It was during this operation that the incident occurred.