Firefighters remind residents about dangers of fireworks ahead of holiday
“People enjoy fireworks, fireworks are legal, there’s nothing we can do to change that. However, it may be five seconds, it may be five minutes, it’s a bomb,” said Brian Kazmierzak, Chief of Training at Penn Township Fire Dept.
Kazmierzak knows a thing or two about the 4th of July holiday and just how dangerous fireworks can be.
“Usually it’s the cases where they believe the firework was dead, they go to pick it up or go in to try relight it and the thing takes off on them,” said Kazmierzak.
One incident in particular he and his fellow firefighters responded to a year ago this week is one he says he’ll never forget.
“On the east side of our township. It was probably the most severe one we’ve seen in a long time.” Kazmierzak
“I went to light a firework and as soon as I go to light it, boom, white light, my ears ringing and my friends screaming. I had doctors helping me, keeping me alive” said Justin Bowerman, the victim of a firework accident.
23-year-old Justin Bowerman was celebrating the 4th at a graduation party in Osceola with family and friends.
“We were all having a good time, I was there maybe ten, fifteen minutes,” said Bowerman.
A firework suddenly exploded in his hand causing potentially life-threatening injuries.
“Nothing can really explain how fast it is. I don’t even remember the wick going off. That’s how fast things can happen. I just had one of the bad of the bunch, you know,” said Bowerman.
He says he’s come to terms with how that split second still impacts his daily routine, but that his goal, now, is to teach others the lesson he learned with fireworks before it’s too late.
“The biggest thing for me, I mean it makes me want to cry, was picking my kids up, you know. I always thought, am I going to be the dad that they need, the dad that’s going to throw a football with them, throw a baseball, that kind of thing.” Bowerman
Justin tells ABC 57 Monday was the first day he's looked back at many of those pictures since the accident happened and he's glad to finally move forward remove the cast for good and help keep others safe.
More information on fireworks safety from Penn Township Fire:
Stay back at least 25-50 feet from the firework that’s being lit.
Do not use dud fireworks.
Fireworks may not go off after being lit. If this happens, use a water hose to spray down the firework from a distance and leave it alone. Do not go to pick it up.
If a firework is damaged, do not light it.