As of late Monday afternoon, not much was known regarding what exactly happened during a private firework display gone horribly and fatally wrong late Saturday night at 189 Henley Mount Joy Road in Scioto County, said Brian Bonhert, public information officer with the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The victim of the accident was 23-year-old James Stephen Scott Warren II. While he deferred questions to the fire marshal’s office, Capt. John Murphy of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office stated the incident is being treated as an accidental death, not as a homicide as apparently was widely rumored.
“This was a freak accident,” Murphy said.
“This is an ongoing, multi-agency investigation involving our office, the Scioto County Sheriff’s office and other agencies including the Union Township Fire Department and the local coroner’s office,” Bonhert added.
“Our office is very concerned about unlicensed consumers getting their hands on professional-grade fireworks,” said State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey. “We’ve been concerned about that and this is exactly what we were worried about – the risk to the general public. We are going to put a lot of resources toward this case to determine how this happened, where these fireworks came from, and how we can stop this from happening.”
According to Bonhert, throughout this Fourth of July holiday, the State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau (FEIB) also responded to – or was notified of – the following:
— An incident in Athens County resulting in a male being critically injured with consumer-grade fireworks.
— A follow-up in Toledo regarding a fatality last week.
— The fire marshal’s office received notification Friday morning about a significant injury in Lorain County.
Bonhert provided the following information from the National Fireworks Protection Association (NFPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
According to the NFPA, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 exterior fires. These fires cause an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries as well as an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries. Of those, 54 percent were to the extremities and 36 percent were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one third, or 36 percent, of the estimated 2017 injuries.
According to the safety commission:
— On average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the Independence Day holiday.
— In 2018, the commission received reports of five non-occupational fireworks related deaths, all associated with re-loadable aerial devices and all victims died from direct impact of fireworks. The commission noted the reporting of fireworks related deaths for 2018 is not complete and the number of deaths noted here should be considered a minimum.
— Fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments throughout the 2018 calendar year.
— U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries during a one-month special study period between June 22, 2018 and July 22, 2018.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.