Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Firework blows up in Riverview man's hands, causing severe injuries

Fireworks exploding unexpectedly blew off a Riverview man's thumb and abruptly ended a Pasco County show when shrapnel struck a man helping put on the display.

The first incident happened at a party at 4105 W Fairview Heights. A few friends had gathered outside the house near MacDill Air Force Base. They had fireworks.

About 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Matthew Lewandowski, 24, loaded a firework mortar into a fiberglass tube. He lit the fuse and held the tube upright, expecting it to rocket away.

But it exploded in his hands, Tampa police say, blowing off his left thumb, severely damaging that hand and burning his arms, stomach and right leg.

"All we heard was, 'Call 911, call 911,' " a neighbor who lives across the street, Shirley Igbuhay, told Bay News 9. "And then he started bleeding. And we saw his hand. It was like, dangling."

Lewandowski was taken to Tampa General Hospital for reconstructive surgery. Still, he might lose his left thumb and ring finger, his father said Wednesday afternoon.

A Tampa police spokesman said that no citations or charges had been filed against Lewandowski for the fireworks.

The second incident happened at a fireworks show capping a day of celebrations at the Pasco County Fairgrounds.

The show near Dade City just started when it suddenly stopped. The sound of sirens filled the air instead.

A mortar had blown up right after clearing its launch tube, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. A 49-year-old man who works for the fireworks company suffered burns and shrapnel wounds to his face and hands, the Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators said his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. His name was not released Wednesday night.

The show was canceled but was expected to go on tonight.

Times staff writers Robbyn Mitchell, Joey Knight and Will Hobson contributed to this report.

Firework blows up in Riverview man's hands, causing severe injuries 07/04/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 5, 2012 8:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]