The Journal Gazette
Monday, July 05, 2021 1:00 am

Fireworks blast kills area man, 41

Emergency crew unable to save victim

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Lifesaving efforts couldn't save a 41-year-old man injured early Sunday by fireworks shrapnel, the Huntington County coroner's office said.

Emergency personnel responded about 12:20 a.m. to 965 W. County Road 700 South, a property northwest of Warren near the Salamonie River, on reports someone was struck by a firework near the abdomen, according to a news release.

Steven E. Sims was pronounced dead at the scene despite lifesaving measures, the release said.

The mortar shell exploded inside the tube, causing the pressure to breech the tube's side, striking the Hartford City man, an initial investigation showed.

The extent of injury will be determined through an autopsy, which will provide the basis for the official cause and manner of death, the release said. Toxicology results are pending.

The coroner's office and Huntington County sheriff's office are investigating.

In an annual report released last month about fireworks fatalities and injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found at least 18 people nationwide died from fireworks in 2020, and an estimated 15,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks wounds.

Injuries were generally caused by misuse and malfunction of fireworks, the agency found, and 66% of injuries happened in the month around Independence Day.

The commission offers safety tips at Its advice includes the following: never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks; never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse; never point or throw fireworks at someone; never try to relight or pick up fireworks that didn't fully ignite; and keep a bucket of water or hose handy in case of fire.

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