On July 5, 2002, a 44-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) was killed while loading shells into mortars at a public fireworks display. Approximately 40 minutes into the show, the victim suddenly yelled and ran from the mortar, reportedly covered with sparks and trying to brush something from his clothing. Seconds later, a shell exploded, causing him bodily injury, and he fell. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead later that night. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar incidents, fire departments should: 1. ensure that safety caps protecting the fuse on fireworks shells are not removed until immediately before the shell is to be fired and are removed only by the shooter; 2. ensure that all fire fighters participating in public fireworks displays are fully trained in the proper performance of their assigned tasks and that they are educated with regard to safety hazards; 3. ensure that mortars are not reloaded/fired more than seven times during a performance to prevent mortar disintegration; and, 4. develop, implement and enforce standard operating guidelines (SOGs) for the operation of fireworks displays.