Arts & Entertainment

Chatham Borough Police: Burn Injury to Independent Hose Co. Clown During 4th of July Parade; Falling Branch Injures One

Skip Conlan drives Independent Hose Co. truck in 2018 Chatham July 4 Parade. One of the performers was burnt during a performance and sent to the hospital on Wednesday. Credits: TAP Chatham
Tree branch at Penn Terrace home that sent one adult to the hospital with minor injuries on July 3 Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - The opening act for the Independent Hose Company, which has been performing during Chatham's Fourth of July Parade since 1955, resulted in minor facial burns that sent an adult "clown" to St. Barnabas Medical Center on Wednesday.

The Chatham Borough Police reported that the injury to 20-year-old Sean Conlan took place at the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Main Street, where the annual parade begins. 

According to the police report by Captain Brian Gibbons: On July 4, 2018 at 11:41 AM, Sgt. Jayson Cittrich responded to the corner of Main Street and Hillside Avenue during the annual Independence Day Parade for the report of a burn victim. Upon arrival, Sgt. Cittrich spoke with members of the private organization, known as the Independent Hose Company, who were performing a clown skit in the parade. An accelerant used during the skit flashed in the face of an adult performer who suffered minor burns to his facial hair, face and eyes. The victim, Sean Conlan, a 20 year old Chatham Borough resident, was transported by Chatham Emergency Squad to St. Barnabas Medical Center for treatment.

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The Independent Hose Company truck was built in 1953 by George Conlan and has been a staple of the parade for 63 years. In addition to a skit that tricks parade goers to believe a bucket of water is being thrown at them, the Independent Hose Company sets fire to a cardboard house and performs while extinguishing the flames.


The Chatham Borough Police also reported on the July 3rd incident in which Chatham resident Ann Cavanaugh sustained injuries as a result of a falling tree branch in the backyard of her neighbor on Penn Terrace.

According to the report by Captain Gibbons: On July 3, 2018 at 8:14 PM, Sgt. Daryle Kelly and Officer Agnes Cisek responded to Penn Terrace on a report that a tree fell with possible entrapment. Upon arrival, officers learned that a large tree branch, from a privately owned tree, fell in the backyard area where a total of twelve individuals were gathered to prepare for July 4th festivities, striking the back corner roof area of the residence and one adult victim. Two neighbors, who were in the yard, heard the tree branch cracking and were able to safely evacuate all of the people (adults and children) from the yard. One of the neighbors, Ann Cavanaugh, a 47 year old Chatham Borough resident, was struck by the branch and knocked to the ground while attempting to escape from the backyard herself. The victim complained of head, neck and back pain and was subsequently transported to Morristown Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.


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