On Sunday 28-year-old Johnny Ray Knight was critically injured when an artillery shell exploded in his back-yard near 42nd and Ames. He later died from his injuries.
We hear it every year: be safe when lighting off fireworks. But the tips can be life-saving. "Really unfortunate to have a life altering injury as a result of doing something careless,” said Papillion Fire Chief, Bill Bowes.
As the sky lights up over the next few days. Safety is the top priority for those who are around fireworks daily. “Obviously the number one thing that we want people to know is safety first,” said Wild Willy’s employee, Crystal Johnson. When it comes to being safe around fireworks, she said it's best to use common sense, and read the directions. “A lot of times they have instructions on the front where it tells you which way to face them, you always want to brace your fireworks, so they won't tip over,” said Johnson.
Bowes said this time of year can be one of the busiest in Sarpy County, and often for a negative reason. “People can start buying and using fireworks on June 25th so we'll start getting calls around June 25th,” he said.
While house fires are the most common result of improper use of fireworks he says they are easily preventable. He recommends handlers never light a firework in their hand. Never lean over a firework while it is lit. As soon as it's lit back up as quickly as possible. Then let it totally go out before approaching it. And never combine fireworks. “Have a metal can with water nearby if you're able to wet the fireworks down after you have shot them off in the street or drive way, wet them down then put them in a water bucket overnight before you throw them in anything else,” said Bowes.
And when it comes to people of all ages joining in on the fun Johnson said supervision is key. “We won't sell to just kids that come in without their parents, so we want everybody to be supervised and safe and really be able to enjoy the holiday and make the most out of it and have a great time,” she said.
Bowes also says those who are lighting the fireworks should not be drinking as that can tend to make accidents happen easier.