UPDATED: Man dies in apparent fireworks accident in north Fargo
Police say it appears a Fourth of July accident involving fireworks caused the death of man Monday night in north Fargo.
Sgt. Chris Helmick said officers were called at 9:27 p.m. to 3512 Kelly St. N. in the Riviera Heights mobile home park, where they found a man deceased in the street.
Police are still investigating exactly what happened, but it appears an accident involving some type of mortar-style firework caused the man's death, Helmick said, adding it's unknown if the firework was bought in a store or homemade.
Helmick said the man had a "very serious" injury, and no attempt was made to resuscitate him.
"At this point, we don't know if he was struck or if the munition blew up, but it appeared based on the information we got during our investigation that it was caused by the fireworks in some manner," he said.
As of 7 a.m. today, police were still working to confirm the identity of the man, who was unrecognizable by his facial features after the accident, Lt. Joel Vettel said.
Later this morning, police said the victim is believed to be a 41-year-old Fargo man. The victim's injuries included massive head wounds from what appeared to be caused by a mortar type firework, police said.
"It appears that he was lighting the device off, and so we don't feel that there were others involved in the incident at this point," he said.
There were witnesses to the incident, which happened just before a severe thunderstorm moved through the Fargo-Moorhead area, Helmick said. Tornado sirens were sounding and funnel clouds were being reported as officers investigated, he said.
"It was a pretty chaotic situation," he said.
Vettel said fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Fargo, yet police respond to hundreds of fireworks-related calls every year.
"We also understand that people want to shoot them off, and at the end of the day, people just need to understand that there's a risk involved," he said. "And if people understand that there is, they hopefully will take more precautions to make sure if they are shooting them off, they find a safe location outside of city limits, but more importantly, they do them safely."