Wisconsin man recovering after fireworks explosionKen Senske says his grandson is enduring “terrible pain” and has a difficult recovery in front of him after he was severely injured from a fireworks accident in rural Wisconsin on the Fourth of July.
By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune
Ken Senske says his grandson is enduring “terrible pain” and has a difficult recovery in front of him after he was severely injured from a fireworks accident in rural Wisconsin on the Fourth of July.
Darrel Senske, 22, was helping light the annual fireworks in Barnes Township on Wednesday when he lit a fireworks charge and it exploded about four feet away from him, sending shrapnel into his legs, his grandfather said.
The grandfather said Senske went through nearly eight hours of surgery at St. Luke’s hospital where they “put his leg together” using a rod. He is taking morphine for the pain, he said. Senske said his grandson still faces skin grafting and plastic surgery and is still in St. Luke’s intensive care unit as of Friday night.
Ken Senske said Darrel had recently moved back to the Barnes area from Wyoming and was seeking work. In the meantime, he was helping out with the Barnes Fire Department, which he once volunteered for, Senske said.
Barnes is between Solon Springs and Drummond on Highway N in Bayfield County.
“It was just one of those accidents,” Senske said. “All he saw was the flash. It was like a landmine.”
Senske said neither he nor his grandson have had contact with the company that supplied the fireworks, Premier Pyrotechnics, a Missouri company that is used by numerous government and civic groups in the region.
Premier provides the fireworks through regional representatives across the Midwest and the shows are usually performed by contractors supervised by regional representatives of the company, according to Premier’s website.
Laws governing display fireworks vary from state to state. The state of Wisconsin, for example, does not require fireworks companies to have insurance, but local authorities may require it. Wisconsin also leaves regulation of the companies up to local agencies.
Minnesota has stricter laws, requiring companies to get permits through the state, as well as insurance at an amount deemed adequate by local fire chiefs. Display companies must also be state certified by written exam with the State Fire Marshal and offer proof of experience for setup and launch operators.
It wasn’t clear Friday what kind of training Senske or the team he was with received before the show at Barnes Town Park on the Fourth. Senske said he didn’t know what kind of training his grandson had gone through to light the fireworks.
The News Tribune made several attempts to contact Premier representatives on Thursday and Friday but received no reply to e-mail and phone messages.
The Barnes Township Web site said Darrel Senske was an employee of a Premier contractor. Township supervisor Mitch McGee said he didn’t have enough information on the agreement with Premier to comment. Other township supervisors could not be reached Friday.
A fund has been set up in Darrel Senske’s name at the Barnes branch of the State Bank of Drummond.
“This is really a tragedy,” Ken Senske said. “It looks like it’s going to be a long recovery.”