UPDATED: Tilton fireworks accident victim in stable condition with eye injury
TILTON – A 48-year-old man who suffered an eye injury after lighting a "quick fuse" on a 19-shot firework was in stable condition after being airlifted to a Boston hospital just after midnight Sunday, police said.
James Virgin, the brother of the homeowner at 45 Vista Heights, lit a fuse on a 19-shot "cake" firework and was standing over it when a shot fired and caught him in the eye at about 10 p.m. Saturday night, said Police Lt. Richard Paulhus.
"He lit it and it went boom," Paulhus said. "It could have been human error on the firework manufacturer or on the victim's part, we're not sure."
Virgin's family members, who would not comment on the accident at their home on Sunday, had been lighting fireworks in the same place in their yard for the past 20 years, Paulhus said.
"It was just a very unfortunate accident," he said.
The firework was a Class C or consumer firework made by AAH Fireworks of West Paris, Maine, a company which distributes fireworks to several stores in New Hampshire, including Fireworks of Tilton at 47 Tilton Road in Tilton.
The firework's product identification was AM07002, Paulhus said, which matches the "Platinum Series" 19-shot cake firework, which carries a warning on the side that says "Warning: Shoots flaming balls and reports."
The owner of AAH Fireworks, Andre Vandebulcke, confirmed Sunday that the product number fits the Platinum Series 19-shot firework. He said the firework does use a "quick fuse" system, but said the term "quick fuse" refers to the fuse inside the firework.
The outer fuse of the firework gives the user 7-8 seconds to get away before the firework goes off, he said.
"There are no quick fuses on the outside of them, there's plenty of time to get away," Vandebulcke said.
"Obviously our hearts go out to the victim," he said.
Class C fireworks are legal to use in Tilton, Paulhus said.
The Tilton-Northfield Fire Department has numerous warnings posted on its webpage warning of the danger of fireworks.