A brush fire Friday afternoon had led to an explosion at a farm in Lenior County, North Carolina, killing one person and injuring three firefighters, authorities said.
Murry Stroud, the county’s emergency services director, told broadcasting network WITN that firefighters were dispatched at approximately 3:15 p.m. on June 10 after a blaze was reported near a building on Bulltown Road in La Grange.
Stroud said fields were being burned off at the farm when the fire spread. The blaze later reached a container filled with fireworks, detonating the low-class explosive pyrotechnic devices that are often used in entertainment or celebration events.
The fireworks exploded shortly after fire officials arrived, causing several injuries and damage to the fire department’s equipment, the outlet reported.
Three injured firefighters, one of them in critical condition, were transferred to ECU Health Trauma Center. One patient was airlifted and two patients were transported by Lenoir County Emergency Services ambulance.
A civilian property representative was also seriously injured during the explosion and died from injuries.
Responding firefighters were warned by the 911 call center before arrival that the structure contained commercial-grade fireworks.
Authorities haven’t released the identity of the representative who has died at the scene. The identities of the injured firefighter also haven’t been immediately disclosed.
The blaze is under control and crews are working to fully extinguish hotspots.
Officials of multiple agencies, including the La Grange Volunteer Fire Department, North Lenoir Fire and Rescue, and the North Carolina Forest Service, had responded to the fiery incident.
Authorities are asking people to avoid the area of Bulltown Road and Heath Road until further notice.
It is unclear what type of fireworks were involved in the incident, but several kinds are illegal in the state, including ground spinners, roman candles, firecrackers, and bottle rockets.
Fireworks customers in North Carolina must be at least 18 and any violation is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $500.
According to a statement released by criminal defense lawyers in the state, prosecutors enhance charges if the fireworks cause any physical damage to people or property.
“In these instances, there is a maximum six-month jail term,” the statement reads.