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Hawthorne Man Killed in Fireworks Explosion

A 42-year-old Hawthorne man who had been trying to set off large mortar-type fireworks through a PVC pipe anchored in the ground died after the fireworks malfunctioned and the pipe exploded, according to a report by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The man’s wife called 911 about 9:23 p.m. Monday to say her husband had been trying to set off fireworks in a nearby pasture in the Campville area.

Patrol deputies and Alachua County Fire Rescue workers got to the man in the 19800 block of Northeast 22nd Lane and attempted CPR. He was flown to UF Health Shands Hospital, but passed away due to the severity of his injuries.

Deputies are investigating and the state fire marshal’s office was notified.

A 911 dispatcher had coached the man’s wife to continue doing CPR until emergency workers were able to get to the scene. He was bleeding heavily but they could tell he had a pulse.

A spokesman for Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, said the investigation is still in its infancy. He added that fireworks that fly or explode are illegal for recreational use.

"Those fireworks are intended to be used by agricultural experts to protect their crops and/or fish hatcheries from invasive wildlife species. They are not to be used at home for recreational purposes.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission did a special study on fireworks and reported that for the 2014 calendar year, there were at least 11 nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths, and an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

Agency officials found no marked changes between 1999 and 2014 in the number of fireworks-related injuries and said that 74 percent of those injured by fireworks were men or boys.

Under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers. Due to their beauty and grandeur, many people forget that fireworks are explosives with the ability to cause severe injuries, property damage and even death.

If you have been injured by fireworks, or someone you love has been killed in a fireworks mishap, our Villages Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation with us by calling 352-369-5334 or by using our online contact form. Due to time constraints being placed on how long you have to file an injury or wrongful death claim, contact us as soon as possible so you can take appropriate action to protect your interests.

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