Duluth Fireworks Disaster of 1988

A dud shell fell into a pile of unspent shells, and ka-pow! There were six minor injuries and zero fatalities.


jest me

about 13 years ago

I was still a kid and was watching from the Superior side (back when the Superior fireworks were still on Barker's Island) when all those fireworks went off in Duluth. All I can remember thinking is, "Uggh, Duluth ALWAYS has better fireworks than we do!!"  Didn't find out until later that it wasn't supposed to be that way.

Marin Christensen

about 13 years ago

Woah, dude, I was just watching this on youtube yesterday.


about 13 years ago

I was 6 years old, but I remember this well. We were down by where the aquarium now is watching. It was obvious something was wrong and then I remember my dad shuttling us kids back to the car pretty quickly. Crazy to see the video.

Dan E.

about 13 years ago

Yes...all four local TV stations did the 20 year anniversary thing last summer for about a week leading up to it.

Todd Gremmels

about 13 years ago

My friend Don was a news camera man and working at one of the news centers. Don (a Viet Nam Vet) was standing between the grandstand and the sand filled garbage containers that they fired the morters from. When the fireworks started going off all at once, Don (holding a $30,000 camera in his hands) began to have flash backs after haveing a morter round go over his head. Don stated he had thoughts of his days as a marine commando and some of the fricus he had been in. Don dropped the camera dove under the grand stand and began digging a hole with his bare hands to hide in. After the rounds subsided Don began to collect himself and help the people around him get away.

One of the facts that he reported was that one of the garbage containers filled with sand(a roll off type probably weighing 5 tons) was moved back away from the explosions approx 10 feet.

My family was up on the hilside as the thing went on and all we could say was boy that was a quick display.

I am so glad nobody was killed!!!


Todd Gremmels

about 13 years ago

1988 was a big year for Duluth on the World News Map. 


Tim K

about 13 years ago

As I recall, Michelle Lee was somewhat freaked out -- but the best was watching a drunk Babs marvel at the great show from her viewpoint aboard the William A. Irvin. They were doing some kind of remote broadcast in conjunction with a Chamber of Commerce shindig and the booze was flowing! She was completely clueless until the sirens started, then they put Michelle on the air.


about 13 years ago

Wish there was a copy of Michelle Lee's live broadcast the night before. I hear she freaked out on camera.


about 9 years ago

This is weird, because the very same thing happened on the Fourth of July 1988 in Lincoln, Neb. I was there to see it, and this link confirms the date.

Some amazing Fourth of July memories - It's more than the fireworks display

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