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Rogue fireworks cause injuries at Stadium of Fire

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Rogue fireworks caused multiple injuries at America’s Freedom Festival‘s annual Stadium of Fire at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday, July 4.

Although the Jonas Brothers were the much-anticipated headline act, the show took an unanticipated turn when fireworks shot across the stadium and into the audience, hitting several concert-goers.

As the Compulsive Flyers Skydive Team landed in the stadium, several rogue fireworks flew into multiple areas throughout the crowd at 8:47 p.m. Attendees posted videos on social media, showing one firework fly into the stands, and another hit a dancer on the field.

The show paused for about 15 minutes as Provo Fire and Rescue and BYU Emergency Medical Services attended to the crowd. Several people were transported to the hospital with injuries.

The Freedom Festival released a statement following the incidents on X: “Safety is of the utmost importance to us. All pyrotechnics at Stadium of Fire are thoroughly checked before the show, and were rechecked after tonight’s incident. Our thoughts are with those who were impacted, and we are following up with them to make sure they are okay.”

Provo Fire and Rescue also released a statement on the incidents. The fire marshal’s investigation is ongoing and anyone who was injured from the fireworks has been asked to send their information to firemarshal@provo.org.

“Our emergency operations center is state-of-the-art allowing us to practice and train in scenarios such as this,” Lynn Schofield, Provo fire marshal, said in the post. “We never want an incident such as this to happen, but we prepare by planning and coordination with BYU so that if it does, we ensure a timely, effective response.”

The show resumed shortly after with a lineup of speakers and performers from across Utah Valley. Jim Evans, executive director of the Freedom Festival, and Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi welcomed the crowd.

Zion’s Youth Symphony and Chorus performed “America the Beautiful,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other patriotic melodies as the Compulsive Flyers Skydive Team flew into the stadium. The Stadium of Fire Dancers performed a tribute dance to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the film “Footloose,” which was filmed in Utah Valley.

Colonel Michael Gette gave remarks acknowledging the sacrifices of U.S. troops and their families, and the 288th Fighter Wing of the Hill Air Force Base flew over the stadium.

The celebration continued with a recognition of the Freedom Festival honorees, presented by Steve Shallenberger, the chair of the Freedom Festival. The 2024 honorees included 100-year-old WWII fighter pilot Joseph Peterburs, 100-year-old WWII Marine Corp veteran Walter Lee Robinson, Vietnam War veteran’s wife Andrea Rander and addiction-recovery spokesperson Todd Sylvester. More information on this year’s honorees can be found on the Freedom Festival website.

The crowd erupted into a roar as the Jonas Brothers took the stage. They played for about an hour, performing both new songs and tunes from their days on Disney Channel.

The group is made up of three brothers — Joe, Nick and Kevin — and was formed in 2005. The band took a hiatus from 2011-2019 to focus on their individual careers, but have since been back recording and touring together. The brothers also played the Stadium of Fire in 2009.

The Stadium of Fire crowd was packed with both families and super-fans of the Jonas Brothers. Thursday’s concert was audience member Braylee Hoff’s sixth time seeing the band perform. She was seated in the front row and expressed her excitement for the show.

“I’ve loved them since i was little, with the Camp Rock days,” Hoff said, referring to the band’s first film for Disney Channel. “Them getting back together was the best thing in my life.”

Natalie Busch from Mapleton and Brynn Anderson from Spanish Fork are friends who attended the event together, and said they love the band because of nostalgia.

Savannah Winterton from Las Vegas is a recent BYU graduate and said she was excited for the Jonas Brothers, but attends the Stadium of Fire most years.

“I just love Fourth of July, it’s my favorite holiday,” Winterton said.

Joe, Nick and Kevin took time between songs to express their gratitude for the crowd’s support and passion for the holiday, saying “God bless America,” which received an eruption of applause from attendees.

“Let’s not wait 15 years till we’re next together,” Joe Jonas said to the crowd.

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