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Investigation into fatal fireworks blast continues

Fireworks can be part of any special celebration but have a huge appeal during summer holidays. The Fourth of July is the holiday many people associate with fireworks displays, but Michigan residents sometimes don't wait for the calendar to change before lighting a sparklers or other colorful explosives.

A Walled Lake man died the Sunday before Independence Day from injuries he received from a "mortar-type" firework. According to All Spark Fireworks, mortar fireworks mimic combat weapons. Chemicals and gunpowder are packed into a tube meant explode after being shot into the air.

The chief of the Walled Lake Police Department said the firecracker appeared to be the kind someone would light after dropping it into a bottle or tube. The 47-year-old man suffered severe blast trauma at a family get together when he raised the firecracker to his head.

Reports said the man apparently believed the firecracker wasn't lit. WXYZ reported the fatal accident occurred while the partygoer was attempting to imitate a stunt he saw on YouTube. The man died at the scene.

The Michigan State Fire Marshal's Office has joined local police in the blast investigation. Authorities didn't reveal much about the probe: the firecracker was purchased legally and alcohol reportedly played a role in the accident.

Fireworks injuries sent 11,400 to hospitals in 2013 and killed eight people. Victims are typically nearby observers rather than people who light fireworks. Most injuries caused by these explosives affect the hands and head, including the face and eyes.

Children under 14 make up more than half the injuries caused by sparklers. The hand-held fireworks seem tame but can heat up to 1,200 degrees and cause severe burns.

Fireworks can be purchased legally in Michigan but users are expected to follow manufacturer instructions and take safety precautions. Compensation may be available for accidents by fireworks negligence through personal injury and wrongful death claims in civil courts.

Source: The Oakland Press, "Man killed in ‘horrific’ fireworks accident in Walled Lake, police say," John Turk, June 29, 2015

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