I was sitting at my kitchen table about 9 o'clock this morning, putting the final touches on the banner for our parade float, when the house shook from the blast of a huge explosion. I ran to the front porch just in time to see a gigantic plume of white smoke rise up from the direction of the old Coast Guard Station. "Oh no!" I thought, "it's the fireworks."
This is what I've learned so far from what I've seen, and from news circulating on the street: Workers were unloading the truck carrying the fireworks, when it exploded. I've heard that at least one person was killed, and several are seriously injured. At least four emergency helicopters flew to the island to evacuate the injured. According to neighbors, no islanders or vacationers were among the dead or injured.
The exploding fireworks set the vegetation on fire between the Coast Guard Station (NCCAT) and the ditch (the entrance to the harbor), but our fire fighters were able to extinguish the blaze.
Ferries from the mainland were sent back since emergency vehicles, personnel, and helicopters were occupying the roadways and parking areas around the ferry slips. I also heard that Hatteras ferries were shut down until sometime later today.
I have had no word about any of the Independence Day celebrations.
I will write more as I get other information. For now, everyone is in shock, and feeling deep sadness for the injured and dead.