Cary Family Warns of Fireworks Dangers

Posted June 25, 2007
Updated June 29, 2007

— Fireworks injured almost 11,000 people in 2005, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, with children under 15 accounting for almost half of the injuries.

Michael Shannon became one of those statistics in 1991, when he was killed by fireworks at a Fourth of July family reunion in Kentucky.

"(It was) the kind of day that everybody would want their family reunion to be like," said Michael's father, Jack Shannon.

The last display of the night was a multiple-tube device that shot balls 200 to 300 feet in the air, Jack Shannon said. The device tipped over part way through and started firing across the ground, and one of the balls hit 3-year-old Michael in the head, he said.

"As I carried him across the street, you could feel the open skull fracture," he said.

"It did not occur to me at that time that it was life-threatening," said Michael's mother, Robin Shannon.

Michael died less than a day later.

Now, the Cary family uses the Fourth of July holiday to warn others of the dangers of fireworks.

"It would be foolish for you to not realize the risk," said Michael's younger sister, Stephanie Shannon, who is now 17. "I think I'd be lying to you if I didn't say I was bitter."

Immediately after Michael's death, the Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated and pulled the type of firework that hit Michael from the market.

Firecrackers account for one fourth of all fireworks injuries nationwide, followed by bottle rockets, sparklers, Roman candles and fountains. Only sparklers and fountains are legal in North Carolina.

"We celebrate Michael (every year), but we also warn people of the dangers," Jack Shannon said. "That's my way of dealing with our son."


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  • Stephanie Shannon Jun 29, 2007

    My family told our story hoping that we could prevent other families from going through the pain that we have suffered. We want to alert people to the risks about fireworks because even if they are legal does not mean that they are safe. Therefore we just want to encourage people that if they want to have fireworks with there 4th that they go to a professional display. Hope that you have a happy and safe fourth of July. God Bless and thank you for taking the time to hear our story.

  • Stephanie Shannon Jun 29, 2007

    To continue my parents did everything they could to save my brother, and as for the fireworks they were LEGAL!!!!! The company made a firework wrong (knowing this firework didn't become unstable everytime they took the risk) but didn't want to recall it knowning that they would lose too much profit if they recalled it. Therefore when the firework was lit it tipped over and shot horizontally across the field. Realizing something was wrong my precious brother turned his head to run but before he could it struck him in the back of the head. It then broke his skull in all of this time my brother was standing between my father's legs.

    After my brother's death my parents fought legislature to have other fireworks like this one removed from the market and have states to ban larger types of fireworks so this could never happen to anyone else. Of course they didn't try and ban all fireworks there a part of our country.

  • Stephanie Shannon Jun 29, 2007

    My name is Stephanie Shannon, I'm 17, and am the daughter of Jack and Robin Shannon. I understand that some of you may have questions from the piece that we have just done.Before you make harsh comments I would like for you to realize that my family has done this video only to warn others of the risks from fireworks. I would also like for yall to realize that I lost my brother and my parents lost their only son, this pain will last us for the rest of our lives and it doesn't matter if it happened yesterday or 16 years ago.

    To answer some of you questions my father carried my brother to the nearest place(across the street)for towels to put pressure against his head. With an open skull fracture we called the EMS right after it happened and my mother didn't want to believe that this firework (that was supposed to bring good times that celebrate our country) could be so harmful as to be life threatening, of course she knew how bad the wound was.

  • Scarecrow Cow Jun 29, 2007

    Steve, I've always liked your posts because they are so articulate and informative, but it is inappropriate to use them with this type of story to show off how smart you think you are. Nobody knows whether thid child's parents could have provided him better medical care, but we all know that finding that out is not your aim in posting here.

  • Jokers Wild Jun 27, 2007

    Ok children... calm down or you'll have to take a nap.

  • Sumo Vita Jun 27, 2007

    Steve Crisp: "Did the parents take the child to the hospital the night this event happened or did they wait until the next day?"

    Steve, exactly what part of "grossly insensitive insinuations" didn't you understand? Is it not clear to you that I found your questions offensive and inappropriate to begin with?

    Do you really believe I would repeat these very questions to my friends - just to satisfy your curiosity with affairs that I've already stated should remain private?

    Perhaps I'm too subtle?

  • Sumo Vita Jun 27, 2007

    Wrong, Crisp. I have read far too many of Coulter's articles - in all their nauseating entirety, and often to the detriment of my digestion. She does write more than just books, don't you know.

    But I'll let you allegedly brilliant types continue to indulge her tripe while she laughs all the way to the bank. Rest assured that she really doesn't need any benevolence from me.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 27, 2007

    And again to Alito A Vita:

    "I'm not the type to grandstand, or make grossly insensitive insinuations under the guise of "discovering the full truth""

    Then simply answer me one simple question:

    Did the parents take the child to the hospital the night this event happened or did they wait until the next day?

    That should be a very simple question to answer, and the answer of which I have been completely unable to find no matter how many sources I have looked up since this story came out on WRAL. If you feel my "insinuation" is "grossly insensitive" then you must have some additional knowledge of the situation that I do not possess. Kindly and simply share it with us in the form of answering that simple question.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 27, 2007

    So, in other words, you've never read a single book written by Ann Coulter and are going on only what you hear presumably from hard-left liberals who probably haven't read her either. Yeah, great way for formulate an informed decision.

    And as to her rantings and their reconciliation to Christianity, well, there's this thing called humor. And if you bothered to read her in context instead of little snippets you would realize that, like Rush, she uses the absurd to illustrate the absurd positions of liberals as well as a health dose of sarcasm. But I forgot, you don't let logic and contextual understanging ever get in the way of what you believe.

  • Sumo Vita Jun 26, 2007


    I'm not the type to grandstand, or make grossly insensitive insinuations under the guise of "discovering the full truth", no. And if you feel compelled to "take no prisoners" with people simply trying to be helpful and make a difference, well, party on. Don't let me cramp your style.

    Further, I'm well read on a diversity of opinions across the political spectrum, and I'm only too familiar with the garbage that Ms Coulter passes off as political commentary. And no, I don't rely on "illigitimate liberal spewage", whatever that might be, for my opinions - though I'll look up said term on my next unhappy rendezvous with Ann's "writing".

    At any rate, I have absolutely no desire to debate her merits with any of her simpering fans. A pity, because I'm really curious about how self-professed Christians reconcile her rantings with the teachings of their faith. It will have to remain for me another of life's great mysteries.

    Have a good day.