It was supposed to be a nice family outing to celebrate the Fourth of July.
“We heard there was a band and they were going to have food,” said Carol Parham.
Parham, her husband, and some relatives attended the annual fireworks show at the Meramec Arnold Elks Lodge in Imperial Tuesday night.
But for many in the crowd, it turned out to be an unforgettable show for all the wrong reasons.
Parham said, “I didn’t even know at the time how bad I had burnt it.”
She told Five on Your Side Thursday that the last thing she remembers is the grand finale. Then, she said she felt extreme pain.
“It felt like this hot piece of lava, whatever a hot piece of lava feels like, that is what it felt like,” she said.
Turns out, Parham had been hit by a piece of firework that accidentally exploded too soon and too close to the ground.
She said, “It just kept sticking to my hand. I just kept trying to get it off.”
Immediately following, she said some nurses who were in the crowd get her hand wrapped up and in ice until paramedics arrived.
The mishap, though, left her with second degree burns on her left hand. She has other burn marks on her arm and leg.
“It was a couple of fingers and the palm of my hand,” Parham said in describing her injuries. Now she has to wear a bandage and might have some long-term damage.
A doctor’s visit, she said, this week will provide more information about her prognosis.
But she’s not mad or placing blame. Parham said accidents happen, but it’s important to remember how dangerous fireworks can be.
“I’m not saying don’t have fun, but I am saying don’t think something couldn’t ever happen. Because it can happen,” she said.
The fireworks show has been going on for about 20 years without any major incidents, according to organizers.
In all, seven people were injured this year. Another man was also hospitalized, in addition to Parham. No one suffered any life-threatening injuries.
Organizers said people who were hurt were all sitting at least 100 feet away.
Firefighters said the lodge does not need a special permit for their event because of the kind of fireworks they’re using.