One Person Injured After Fireworks Warehouse Explosion in Lehigh County

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SLATINGTON -- Employees at Celebration Fireworks Incorporated in Slatington were loading shipments of fireworks bound for fireworks shows for communities in and around Lehigh County for the Fourth of July weekend.

Still, despite this being the busiest time of year, most here were thinking of their co-worker, who was badly injured after the firework she was assembling exploded.

“A lot of what we do is totally out of safety concerns,” said owner John Kemps. “For example, what happened is the electric match the employee was inserted into to the shell we use specifically so that we do not subject our crews to the dangers of hand lighting fireworks with a highway safety flare which puts them at great risk.”

Kemps says this is the first incident the company had since it opened in 2001.

He was upset knowing his employee was in the hospital undergoing surgery due to a workplace accident.

“Chrissy if you`re listening, there`s a lot of prayers that are going out to make sure you’re okay,” said Kemps.

Kemps says the company will be investigating what went wrong while still handling the more than 20 fireworks shows his company was hired to do this weekend.

“They`re expecting that we produce great displays for them over the next few days and we plan, but it`s certainly not the most pleasant circumstances going forward for us, we`re very concerned about Chrissy,” said Kemps.

Among the shows Celebration Fireworks will be producing is the fireworks display in Lehighton set for Saturday night at 10p.m. with a rain date set for Sunday.

“John is a great guy to work with. He absolutely is, he helps us whenever he can,” said Lehighton’s Parks and Recreation Chairman Clark Ritter, who is in charge of the Fourth of July festivities for the borough.

Ritter says Kemps assured him the borough would have its display this weekend.

“Now I understand they had a tragic thing down there this morning and we certainly our hearts go out to them and we hope the best for the woman that was injured on it,” said Rittter. “But we got information this afternoon that the show goes on. I said john`s in the business and he`s going to take care of his customers as best he can.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was called to investigate.

It says the woman`s injures are significant but not life threatening and that the incident appears to be an accident.


  • Joe Fluhr

    I personally know John Kemps , and he is one of the most safety-minded people in the industry,.. especially when it comes to his employees. I know for a fact he takes every precaution he can to keep his people safe. It’s dangerous work but the professionals accept the risks because they love the work they do. My thoughts are with John, Chrissy and everyone at Celebration Fireworks tonight.

    • Sam I Am

      To the thumbs down person, I bet you feel that China plants have higher safety standards the any US plant.

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