Deadly warehouse fire caused by static electricity, investigators say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A spark created an explosion that killed four workers at a warehouse in December 2022, OSHA investigators have determined.


The conclusion solves a mystery that has lingered ever since the Magic in the Sky warehouse went up in flames, and was largely anticipated given that the facility was poorly equipped to handle explosives.

“At 7:15 p.m. on December 1, 2022, employees were sorting and loading aerial fireworks with electric match ignitors,” OSHA’s summary said. “An alleged static charge from plastic tables and storage bins ignited an electric match at the insertion point of the aerial firework, resulting in immediate detonation.”

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All the workers killed were under the age of 25. A fifth worker inside the facility at the time was hospitalized with severe injuries.

In the months following the fire, sources close to the investigation accused the company of failing to provide anti-static equipment, including floor mats and clothing, that could help safely discharge electricity buildup.

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They also said the warehouse, which was supposed to be storing furniture, did not have any safe places to hide in the event of a fire, nor did it have a sprinkler system big enough for explosives.

Workers weren’t trained on fireworks safety, they said, and they frequently carried cell phones and vape pens into their workplace.

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The company was also accused of using a pickup truck with a trailer to haul the prepared fireworks from the warehouse to SeaWorld, which did not have any warning signs notifying drivers that explosives were on board.

The company has denied all accusations and plans to fight the violations at a hearing scheduled for July. Its lawyers recently admitted in a court filing they are expecting criminal charges.

“The case is under review with our office to determine the appropriate course of action,” a spokesperson for State Attorney Andrew Bain said in response to questioning.

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