Man Dies After Firework Goes Off Prematurely, Hits Him in Chest: Coroner

A Fireworks Safety Guide For July 4th

A 25-year-old Indiana resident died in Henderson last night after an accident involving fireworks.

Michael Osborne, Salem, Indiana, which is north of Louisville, was pronounced dead at 11:04 p.m. at Methodist Hospital, according to the Henderson County Coroner's Office.

"I haven't ever heard of anything like this happening here," Coroner Bruce Farmer said of Monday night's tragedy.

The coroner's office and the Henderson County Sheriff's  the accident occurred around 10 p.m. on Dixon Road No. 2.

Deputy Coroner Bill Schwartz said Osborne was bending over the firework to light it and it went off prematurely and hit him in the chest.

"It was a big ordnance. The type that is supposed to explode 100 feet in the air," Schwartz said. "It was legal. They were lighting legal fireworks."

"The firework hit him hard enough to stop his heart," Schwartz said. "The preliminary cause of death is blunt force trauma."

Osborne was transported to Methodist Hospital where he died.

Farmer said Osborne's body has been transported to Louisville for an autopsy. The autopsy will likely be scheduled for sometime on Wednesday.

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Safety is, of course, important at all times. But officials urge the public to be especially careful when around or using fireworks.

“Safety should be top priority when dealing with explosives you have little to no control over,” said Kentucky Fire Commission Executive Director Ronnie Day.

The holiday can also bring an increase in serious injuries.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55 percent of 2014 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 38 percent were to the head. The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14.

Kentucky State Fire Marshal Bill Swope advises families to let the professionals entertain you.

“Setting off fireworks at home runs the risk of injury and may also run the risk of violating local ordinances and state law,” Swope said.

If you insist on celebrating at home, Swope says that safety and supervision are keys to a successful, injury-free celebration.

Recommended safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety follow:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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