Man helping with SC fireworks show hurt in blast

The (Myrtle Beach) Sun NewsJuly 5, 2013 

Photo of the explosion courtesy of David Roe of David Roe Photography and Digital Art of Apex, N.C.

  • Firework kills 54-year-old man

    A Travelers Rest man has died after a firework exploded in his hands on July Fourth.

    The Greenville County Coroner’s Office says 54-year-old Robin Rhodes Smith died on the way to a hospital at 9:45 p.m. Thursday.

    Smith had been shooting fireworks in his yard. A mortar round-type with a 4-inch opening at the top, failed to ignite.

    Investigators say Smith took the firework and used a pocket knife to install a new fuse. Witnesses say Smith was holding the firework against his chest when it went off.

    The Associated Press

— A worker helping with the North Myrtle Beach Fourth of July fireworks show at the Cherry Grove Pier was cut and a portion of the pier was damaged when a large fireworks shell prematurely exploded, officials said.

The fireworks show at the pier was being conducted by Zambelli Fireworks and it ended about six minutes into the event Thursday night when the explosion occurred, said city spokesman Pat Dowling. A Zambelli worker was injured in the blast and was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for treatment.

On Friday, Mike Niedzwecki, a Zambelli project manager for South Carolina and Georgia, said the employee suffered a laceration, was taken to the hospital, treated and released Thursday night.

“Fireworks are dangerous, and they’re unpredictable,” Niedzwecki said. “Accidents do happen. He did get hurt due to a malfunctioning shell.”

Niedzwecki said he did not have any other information about the incident until the investigation is complete.

The explosion caused a 2-by-3-foot hole in the pier and damaged about four feet of pier railing, Dowling said. No other damage or injuries were reported.

The hole in the pier was covered with plywood, and the pier was reopened Friday.

Officials with the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department are investigating the incident to determine what caused the early explosion of the shell that injured the worker and damaged the pier, Dowling said.

The crowd attending the show left soon after it was apparent that the show had ended, but Zambelli workers determined the safest way to remove the remaining fireworks from the pier was to launch them, Dowling said. So, people in the Cherry Grove Pier area continued to see increment fireworks in the sky Thursday night.

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