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. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen


    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

  3. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum


    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  5. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar


    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.