Taylor Jackson, 16, of Pelham, was going to get gas in her car tonight about 7:30 p.m., when she heard what sounded like a lot of gunshots going off all at once.
She told me she thought her neighbors, who hold an annual fireworks display around the Fourth of July for family, friends, and neighbors, were probably setting off a few test shots.
“But I saw an orange, like, mushroom cloud,” Jackson told me. “I knew that couldn’t be good.”
Jackson had just heard and seen the explosion of a cache of fireworks on the back deck of her neighbor’s home at 40 Dodge Road in Pelham, where fireworks are perfectly legal.
Fire Chief James Midgley said two children, about 3- to 4-years-old, suffered life-threatening burns in the explosion. Both of those children were flown to Boston trauma centers by medical helicopters, as pictured in this entry in photos taken by Tory Germann and I.
One other child and four adults also suffered “moderate to minor” burns in the explosion, and were taken by ambulance to hospitals in Nashua and Methuen.
Police Lt. Brian McCarthy said emergency crews were called to the home by a 911 call at 7:32 p.m., and arrived to find all seven patients in the front yard, while a fire burned at the back of the home.
Midgley said firefighters extinguished the fire, which cause moderate damage to the outside of the home.
How many fireworks were involved, and what kind, is under investigation, as is the cause of the explosion.
Midgley said it appears the cache of fireworks was on the deck of the home when the explosion occurred.
New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Fire Marshall’s Office were on scene tonight to assist the investigation.
Police blocked off all of Dodge Road, so photographs of the home were not immediately available as Boston and New Hampshire media gathered at the scene.
Jackson said fire trucks soon surrounded the home, and that there were at least four stretchers in the front lawn.
She said her neighbors are friendly. A man and a woman live in the home with at least one of their three children.
Police and firefighters did not immediately identify the injured tonight, though they said additional information will be released soon.
Between information provided by Jackson, and telephone listings, I know who lives in the home, but I’m not going to publish that information on the internet tonight. If you’re really curious read tomorrow’s paper. I did put it in my story for print because by tomorrow morning all family members should be notified.
Jackson said the family holds a fireworks display each year.
“They’re always so safe,” she said. “They do it every year and they’re always very safe.”
McCarthy said investigators would remain at the scene most of the night.
“We’re just beginning,” he said. “It’s going to be a very long night and a very thorough investigation.”
Police said that around the same time as the explosion on Dodge Road, a 50-year-old man suffered an eye injury that appears to have been caused by fireworks at 12 Jericho Road in Pelham.
More details about that incident were not immediately available.
Later in the night, the town of Pelham’s annual fireworks display was held without a hitch.