List of pyrotechnic incidents

This page contains a list of incidents involving pyrotechnic substances.

Pyrotechnics have been the proximate cause of many accidents and incidents over time, which have resulted in property damage, injury and in severe cases loss of life. These incidents can be the results of poorly manufactured product, unexpected or unforeseen events, or in many cases, operator error.

Sporting events

In August 2006, when TNA Wrestling held its annual Pay Per View Hard Justice, a fire ignited in the rafters where the pyrotechnics were held. Everybody was evacuated from the building. The fire lasted about 20 minutes and the show was continued.

On March 30, 2008, WWE had pyrotechnics go off for the ending of WrestleMania XXIV, but the pyrotechnics cable snapped and sparks flew down from the upper decks to the lower and middle decks. 45 fans were injured, but only 3 needed medical attention from a doctor.

At the 2010 Elimination Chamber Pay Per View, Professional Wrestler The Undertaker suffered burns to the chest and neck area as a result of a pyrotechnic accident. A mistake allowed a huge burst of fire to erupt directly under his feet, burning The Undertaker's leather coat. Remarkably, he completed his match despite suffering second and third-degree burns. The pyrotechnician responsible for the accident was fired on the spot and escorted from the building at the behest of The Undertaker himself.


  • In 2003, improper use of pyrotechnics caused a fire in a Rhode Island nightclub called The Station. The Station nightclub fire was started when the fireworks the band Great White were using accidentally ignited flammable soundproofing foam. The pyrotechnics in question were not appropriate. The foam caused combustion to spread rapidly and the resulting fire led to 100 deaths, apparently because their quick escape was blocked by ineffective exit doors. While the type of foam used and the lack of a sprinkler system were important factors in the fire, the Great White fire could have been prevented had those involved paid attention to standard safety practices around the use of pyrotechnics.[1]
  • Metallica's James Hetfield suffered burns during a performance of "Fade to Black". He suffered from second and third degree burns. This concert is also infamous because it subsequently led to a riot occurring due to Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose walking off stage after complaining of a throat problem.
  • Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee was hospitalized in 2005 when he was hit by sparks from a pyrotechnic stunt while he was swinging on a wire between drum sets suspended several feet above the stage.
  • July 8, 2011 A follow spot operator's truss chair caught on fire at a Rihanna concert. It was caused by the shows pyrotechnics.[2]
  • In 2015, Michael Clifford and Calum Hood from 5 Seconds of Summer suffered burns while playing their show in Wembley Arena, London.


Margaret Hamilton was badly burned during a scene in which her character 'vanished' in a burst of flame and smoke, a delay in activating a trap-door catching her in the pyrotechnic device during the filming of The Wizard of Oz (1939 film). Her stuntwoman was also injured in a scene involving a smoking broomstick.


Keith Moon and Pete Townshend were injured during the taping of an episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.

Anthea Turner was set alight by a pyrotechnic display in 1989 during the filming of an episode of the program UP2U.

Michael Jackson had suffered from injuries sustained when a pyrotechnic went wrong during filming for a Pepsi advertisement on January 27, 1984, when they went off too early and caused him to suffer from burns to his hair and scalp.


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