LA GRANGE, N.C. (WNCT) — Officials have identified the person who died in Friday’s explosion where a brush fire set off fireworks that were stored in a container at a farm south of La Grange.
Officials said Randy Herring, who owned the property where the explosion happened, died after he sustained injuries trying to put out the fire and from the explosion.
Two of the three firefighters who were rushed to the hospital have been released. A third firefighter is still at the NC Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill for further treatment. Their names have not been released.
The brush fire set off fireworks at the farm, located at 4871 Bulltown Road in La Grange.
Murry Stroud, Public Information Director for Lenoir County, said the incident happened at 3:15 p.m. on Friday. La Grange Volunteer Fire Department, North Lenoir Fire & Rescue, and the North Carolina Forest Service were dispatched to the farm for a reported brush fire approaching a structure. The farm raises hay and the area fields were being burned off when the fire got out of control, Stroud said.
Officials were informed at the time of the fire call of commercial-grade fireworks being stored in the building that was threatened. The fireworks, which were in a metal container, were detonated by the fire shortly after firefighters arrived. Herring was working on the farm and was trying to stop the fire before the explosion happened, Stroud said.
The three firefighters were from the La Grange Volunteer Fire Department. They were transported to ECU Health Trauma Center in Greenville to be treated for their injuries. One of those was airlifted by EastCare helicopter. The two others were transported by a Lenoir County Emergency Services ambulance.
Firefighting equipment was also damaged by the explosion.
Multiple Lenoir County and Wayne County fire departments were still on the scene Saturday tending to the area. The fire was under control and crews were working to put out hot spots. Stroud also said there were still some live fireworks at the scene.
Officials said Saturday the Lenoir County Fire Marshal’s Office was coordinating the investigation with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal, the NC Forest Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.