Scare Prompts Stampede During Philly's July 4th Fireworks - Fox 2 News Headlines

Scare Prompts Stampede During Philly's July 4th Fireworks

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There was a panic on the Ben Franklin Parkway on the Fourth of July, with people yelling and confused, fearing the worst.

What was mostly a smooth night ended with some people running scared.

But the question is why?

FOX 29's Jeff Cole spoke to people right in the middle of the madness and filed this report Friday night live from the parkway with some answers.

Cell phone video shows the moments of panic at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday as the July 4th fireworks exploded in the distance.

John Piorkowski says he gathered up his two kids, his girlfriend, held up his cell phone, clicked record – and ran.

He said there were "literally hundreds of people running at us."

"We waited for the first wave to hit us, and we ran," he said.

The video shows concert-goers hurrying off, firefighters directing people and what appears a police helicopter in the air directing a spot light to the ground.

"I saw cops running. They appeared to grabbing their guns. It was very crazy and nuts," Piorkowski said.

The 38-year-old South Jersey contractor wasn't the only one caught up in the commotion.

A family visiting from Annapolis, Md., says the scene unfolded right in front of them.

"A bunch of people said, ‘Run, run,'" the father said. "We hid behind a post and watched as lots of cops came into the area."

The Philly July 4th events on the Parkway draw a big and diverse crowd, and last night was true to form.

When FOX 29 News called police about Thursday night's stampede, the public relations staff had no answers but said there had been no reports of gunplay or violence.

By mid-afternoon, Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison revealed the unrest had been caused by firecrackers tossed to the ground, prompting some to run.

Asked if it would influence his decision to the Parkway again to celebrate Independence Day, Piorkowski said, "Can't stop living your life due to incidents like this. It will not stop us from coming back."

Here are links to more YouTube videos showing the commotion:

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