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Students struck by firework debris at Izzone Campout, one transported to hospital

Drew Goretzka | The State News | October 19, 2021

At least one student was struck by debris and sustained non-life-threatening injuries after a surprise fireworks show at the Izzone Campout on Oct. 15.

The individual was treated by paramedics and transported to an area hospital, Michigan State Police Department Public Information Officer Chris Rozman said in an email.

The State News also received photos of a number of other students who received minor burns and blisters, generally concentrated to uncovered parts of the body.

Sophomore computer science major Thomas Gorman was one such student. He said he felt a baseball-like object hit the back of his neck in the middle of the show. Realizing that it came from the fireworks, he feared people would be stuck and unable to escape.

“That was a little scary,” Gorman said. “I figured at that point people might be trying to run away from the fireworks and we’re all stuck in a big crowd.”

Photos taken after the campout showed a large, red welt on the back of his neck— where the debris had made contact.

Gorman’s friend was also struck by debris but did not sustain notable injuries, Thomas said.

Gorman also said that the area where the fireworks were being launched was a lot closer to the crowd than he had seen in previous shows.

“Early on in the fireworks show, my thoughts were ‘Wow, this is definitely the closest I’ve ever been to a professional fireworks show,’” Gorman said.

The fireworks were launched in the Breslin Center parking lot, approximately .3 miles, or 1584 feet from the spectating crowd on Munn Field.

In an email, Rozman confirmed that the “fireworks launch site exceeded the national standard for being a safe distance from spectators.”

He also confirmed that the fireworks organizer, Pro Fireworks, possessed an approved permit and safety plan.

Neither Pro Fireworks president James Stajos nor owner Reed Miller were available for comment at the time of publishing.

The 2021 Izzone Campout was a return for the annual event after a two-year hiatus due to inclement weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. The campout is generally seen as a kickoff to the MSU men’s basketball season.