RALEIGH, N.C. Negligence lawsuits filed by representatives of three workers who died and one person who survived an explosion inside a truck carrying July 4 fireworks to a North Carolina barrier island display can continue, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The three judges unanimously sided with the estates of Mark Hill, Lisa Simmons and Charles Kirkland Jr. and with the injured Martez Holland. They are seeking damages against a pyrotechnics company hired to put on the show on Ocracoke Island in 2009.
The case will return to court for possible trials barring a change. The state Supreme Court isn’t required to hear an appeal of Tuesday’s opinion.
Four workers inside the truck containing nearly 700 pounds of fireworks died, while Holland was blown out of the back of the truck and suffered third-degree burns. Federal investigators blamed a small explosion involving electric igniters being pushed into the fireworks for triggering a larger explosion inside the truck.
The estates’ administrators and Holland sued South Carolina-based East Coast Pyrotechnics Inc., formerly known as Melrose South Pyrotechnics, the company that was hired by an Ocracoke community group to put on the show