Man suffers ‘significant injuries’ from pyrotechnic mortar round


A man was seriously injured Tuesday night by fireworks, one of two incidents reported as Whatcom County residents celebrated Independence Day with pyrotechnics of all sorts.

The 27-year-old man, whose name and place of residence weren’t disclosed, was injured when a pyrotechnic mortar round exploded in his hands.

“He went to pick up the device, not realizing what it was,” said Assistant Chief Bill Hewett of the Bellingham Fire Department. “He suffered injuries to his chest and face, and significant damage to both hands.”

Bellingham handles firefighting operations under a pact with Whatcom County Fire District 8, which serves the Marietta area and Lummi Peninsula.

He suffered injuries to his chest and face, and significant damage to both hands.

Assistant Chief Bill Hewett, Bellingham Fire Department

Hewett said the injury occurred about 8 p.m. on the Stommish Grounds near Gooseberry Point, where nearby Station 34 had extra staffing that included a firefighter/medic. The patient was driven to the fire station in a private vehicle, where he was treated and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham.

Details about the man’s condition weren’t disclosed because of medical privacy laws, but Hewett said the patient was walking and conscious, despite suffering what could be “life-altering” injuries.

Later that night, District 8 firefighters responded to 4534 Haxton Way, where two recreational vehicles and a full-size van were ablaze, Hewett said. Surrounding brush also ignited.

“There was definitely a lot of potential for large fire and a good stop, being able to contain it to the vehicles that were on fire when we got there,” Hewett said.

Crews from Whatcom County Fire District 7 in Ferndale assisted.

Google Earth mapping shows the property, south of Slater Road along Smuggler Slough, contains many mobile homes and buildings grouped close together.

Hewett said a damage estimate was unavailable and the cause was undetermined. Firefighters said they saw fireworks being set off close the scene.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty