By Calvin Palmer
The deck at an apartment complex collapsed during a Fourth of July party in Birmingham, Alabama, killing one person and injuring six others.
Seven people fell three stories at the Waterford Landing apartment complex in the suburb of Hoover. The two decks below, both unoccupied, were crushed by falling debris.
Hoover Fire Department spokesman Rusty Lowe said one person was pronounced dead at the hospital, another is in critical and three are hospitalized with serious injuries. Two were treated for minor injuries and discharged.
Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the dead man as Gerald Andrew Scribner, 25, of Hoover.
The cause of the collapse is being investigated.
In another Independence Day-related incident, a New York man had his left arm blown off while lighting a firework.
Eric Smith, 36, mental age probably 12, was using a three-foot long metal tube to shoot mortars from the street near his Islip Terrace home on Long Island early Saturday evening.
Police believe Smith leaned over the device to ignite it and failed to get out of the way before an explosive shot out of the launcher. His left arm was severed at the shoulder.
Smith was taken to Southside Hospital and the severed limb, packed on ice, accompanied him.
Surgeons were unable to re-attach the arm and Smith remains in a stable condition.
Police said they are considering bringing charges against him as the firework had been illegally made.
Why Americans feel the need to launch fireworks in their own back yards escapes me.
The official firework displays are always worth watching but for several hours afterwards neighborhoods sound like Saigon during the Tet Offensive, reverberating with cracks and bangs of non-destructive explosions.
I guess some people just have to make a noise in order to justify their mundane and inconsequential existence, as well as pandering to their low intellect.
It is all rather sad really. Still, I am sure Eric and his pals were having a blast until the blast.
Like my editor on my first newspaper said to be me, “It’s a good job the world is full of idiots, otherwise newspapers would have nothing to write about.”