RICHLAND,Wash. -- Fireworks are a big part of Fourth of July celebrations, but authorities believe a malfunctioning illegal firework cost one Richland man his life.
The Richland Bomb Squad is now investigating the accident that killed 61 year old John Anderson. Police say he was having a party, and was setting off several three inch mortar fireworks in a field by his house, off Gala Way in the Badger Mountain Village Subdivision.
Paramedics received a call around 10:20pm. "He apparently purchased fire works on his own, he had set up several mortars, one of them malfunctioned and he was caught in the blast, says Benton County Coroner John Hansens.
Hansens said Anderson died instantly. He suffered severe injuries to his upper body and head. The incident happened in front of his friends and family.
Thursday, Kennewick's Fire Marshal, Mark Yaden and Richland's Fire Chief Grant Baynes reminded people about the dangers of buying fireworks on the black market.
"Many of them have improper type fuses, and many of them are packed up to 500 times the amount of powder that what is legal by federal statute," says Yaden.
As long as this is going on , somebody is going to be hurt again, somebody will be killed," says Baynes.
Yaden says this is the third fireworks related death in Benton County in the last 20 years, but there have been a countless number of injuries reported.
Hansens is conducting a toxicology test to see if alcohol played a factor. The Richland Bomb Squad is investigating what exactly malfunctioned and where Anderson purchased the fireworks.