Wrestlemania Fireworks Go Awry

The 24th year of the grandaddy of all pro wrestling events – WrestleMania – may have kicked off with a bang at the city-owned Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., but a technical mishap injured nearly three dozen fans.

As many as 35 fans suffered injuries, officials said. Those with non-critical injuries were treated in the first-aid area, but some suffered first- and second-degree burns and were taken to nearby hospitals.

The WWE is examining what went wrong near the show’s finale March 30th when a cable holding rockets over the stadium collapsed and fireworks dropped into the crowd below.

"We’re investigating the incident and doing everything we can to find out why it happened and to make sure it never happens again," the company said in a statement. "While we apologize to anyone who was injured and/or alarmed by this occurrence, we take solace in the fact that the reported injuries were minor."
Assistant fire chief Greg Hoggatt told the Orlando Sentinel that WrestleMania’s fireworks contractor, Zenith Pyrotechnology, submitted a plan to the local fire marshal and the pyrotechnics were inspected and deemed safe the day of the event, but a cable broke toward the end of the show.

"The west cable failed and then dropped the fireworks into the crowd below," Hoggatt said. "The fireworks and hot cables fell into the 300 section, the middle of the 200 section and into the 100 section, close to the stage."

John Voit, who was sitting under the cable with his son, questioned the approval of the pyro plans.

"After the cables snapped, the batch of fireworks just hung there burning above our heads," he told the Sentinel. "How could they have allowed the WWE to put explosive devices above the heads of children?

"My 12-year-old son got burned on his leg, he twisted his knee when he ducked under the bleachers and I have three welts on my back from the rockets that struck me," he said.

Hoggatt confirmed that a review of procedures was under way, and that the show would "go under the same scrutiny as every event we do at the Citrus Bowl and the arena."