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story.lead_photo.caption A frame grab from a Pulaski County sheriff’s deputy’s body camera video shows a fireworks explosion set off early Friday morning in College Station during a "fireworks war" that left several people injured. Video is available at

At least five people had fingers or parts of their hands blown off on Independence Day in what the Pulaski County sheriff's office called a "fireworks war" in College Station.

Deputies arrested 12 people on various charges after several deputies received minor burns from people shooting fireworks at them, sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Cody Burk said.

The crowd near 3M Road and Frazier Pike -- which Burk estimated to be 250 to 300 people -- were not all residents of the area, Burk said. The majority were from Little Rock, North Little Rock and other surrounding communities.

"That area has a history of fireworks complaints, so we had a few deputies over there," Burk said. "It started about 6 [p.m.], and we were out there until well into the morning."

The crowd shot so many fireworks at ambulances that the first responders could no longer drive into the area, Burk said, which meant deputies had to transport people with missing fingers three or four blocks before they could be seen by a medic.

Burk said deputies applied tourniquets and bandages to multiple people who suffered burns from the "display grade" fireworks.

Body camera footage from deputies on 3M Road late Thursday shows an almost constant barrage of fireworks shooting small balls of fire around the street and park while people scream in the background.

"It sounded like a war zone," said Annette McClain, who lives near 3M Road. "It was just ridiculous, but it was really scary."

McClain said she returned home from her son's house around 6 p.m. Thursday to find sheriff's deputies and a crowd of people near her house. A large patch of grass near the railroad tracks that cross 3M Road was scorched.

"I said, 'that wasn't like that when I left,'" McClain said. "An officer told me it caught on fire, and they had to put it out."

When McClain stepped out of her car and walked toward her home, she said a firework whizzed by, nearly hitting her.

"It didn't hit me, but it landed in my yard," she said. "Thank God it had sprinkled just a bit before. I was scared my house would catch on fire."

McClain said at first people were shooting back and forth across the railroad tracks, but the groups split up and began fighting and firing the explosives all over the neighborhood. McClain said deputies were stopping and arresting people who fired into crowds or at other people, but "there was only so much they could do. They were on their jobs, I'll tell you that. They were out here all night."

McClain, who has lived in her 3M Road home for more than 20 years, said there have been fireworks fights in the past but never one so violent or with so many people.

"I pulled a stool up to my door and watched for a while, but I wasn't going out there," she said.

Tyrese Taylor and Rashad Scaife, who said they participated in the fireworks fight Thursday night, said the event was planned to be in a secluded area and away from houses, but things got out of hand. Taylor said the fight happens almost every year with bottle rockets or smaller incendiaries, but this year attendees had bigger ammunition.

"We were out here all day, but war started at 6," Taylor said. "Everybody was lined up and everybody knew who they were shooting at, but when the police showed up it was like stepping on an ant bed. People went everywhere."

Though Taylor said some people had bottle rockets or other smaller fireworks, an arrest report said some people shot off "mortar charge" fireworks.

"I saw three people get hurt," Scaife said. "This one guy, his whole hand was off."

One deputy reported seeing a man with the majority of his right palm blown off, Burk said. Other people lost one or more fingers. Arrest reports said those who were arrested either shot their fireworks into a crowd or toward sheriff's deputies.

"Oh, I saw them shooting them at police," McClain said. "I've never seen anything like it before."

Fireworks are legal to possess and shoot in Pulaski County, but Burk said residents aren't allowed to recklessly deploy the explosives or use them to injure others.

CORRECTION: A previous version of a photo caption in this story gave an incorrect date for body camera footage of a fireworks explosion. The still was taken from footage recorded Friday morning.

A Section on 07/06/2019

Print Headline: Fireworks fight in central Arkansas turns into full-blown melee


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Archived Comments

  • Winfield
    July 6, 2019 at 5:39 a.m.

    Perhaps the idiots that got their hands and fingers blown off will decide to stay away next year from such crazed bunch of society rejects endangering not only their own lives, but innocent citizens that live around that area.

  • Testingonetwothree
    July 6, 2019 at 5:53 a.m.

    Good reason to ban fireworks in Arkansas. I have problems with aholes shooting bottle rockets and Roman candles at my horses and cattle.

  • TuckerMax
    July 6, 2019 at 5:54 a.m.

    This also shows us that the PCSO now has bodycams, at least on some officers.

  • Morebeer
    July 6, 2019 at 9:18 a.m.

    It’s this sort of lawlessness that our lawmen have to deal with that causes jurors to side with with the lawmen when they fire their weapons under stressful situations. Thanks for stepping into the breach, deputies.

  • Retiredofit
    July 6, 2019 at 10:11 a.m.

    testingonetwothree, the libs wont ban the fireworks for their law abiding citizens, but will soon ban your cows because they fart! I wonder how much disability the handless wonders will receive from the state.🤔
    our tax dollars at work ... For the police response and the fireworks!
    God bless America.

  • BigRed501
    July 6, 2019 at 10:33 a.m.

    I wonder how many of those idiots who had hands or fingers blown off will now file for disability?

  • Lsull
    July 6, 2019 at 10:33 a.m.

    We'll need to work longer hours, pay more taxes to support these newly disabled dems.

  • OzarkJim
    July 6, 2019 at 10:48 a.m.

    I had a friend in high school that lost his right eye on the 4th of July in 1972 to roman candle. He had a football scholarship to Alabama until that night. Today he is working at a convenience store. Wow!! As Forest Gump would put it, "Stupid is, as stupid does!

  • GhostWriter46
    July 6, 2019 at 10:53 a.m.

    Next year ship in larger quantities of more powerful fireworks & keep the first responders away —- result = the idiots will self-clean up their neighborhood of morons & make it much easier to id when they later appear across the LR/NLR metropolitan area (missing fingers, hands, eyes, etc)

  • Lsull
    July 6, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.

    Make them hold up hands on mug shots.