A Lancaster man injured by a malfunctioning shell during the annual July 4 fireworks show in Jeffersonville Tuesday night is recovering from ankle surgery at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Approximately 16 minutes into the show at the old elementary school site, a loud boom heard close to the ground interrupted the festivities and caused confusion among the large crowd. Shortly after the explosion, members of the Jeffersonville Fire Department and Fayette County EMS responded to the scene.
Keith L. Krile, 33, was transported from the scene by medical helicopter to OSU for treatment after he was struck in the ankle.
Four individuals, including Krile, were in charge of the fireworks show Tuesday night. Jason Retherford, 43, of Ashville, Ohio, also suffered minor injuries from the explosion, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office report. No other injuries were reported.
“There was an incident involving a shell during the show,” said Ken Sprague, president of Hamburg Fireworks Displays, Inc., a Lancaster-based fireworks company that’s contracted by the Jeffersonville Celebration committee for the fireworks show. “Unfortunately there was a malfunction when they were lighting it on the ground. A fragment from the mortar that launches the shell hit Keith.”
On Wednesday, Sprague said he spoke to Krile, who said he’s doing well following the ankle surgery.
“It’s very fortunate that he’s okay,” Sprague said. “Our company is always very conscientious when it comes to public safety and the safety of our employees. But you’re dealing with explosive devices that are hand-made by human beings, so there is always a chance that something can go wrong.”
Following the explosion, the show was cancelled before the grand finale display.
“At that point, we thought it was in everyone’s best interests to postpone until July 4 next year,” said Sprague.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica