Somber July 4th in Comanche after deadly fireworks accident

Print
Email
|

by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 4 at 7:35 PM

Comanche High School

View larger map

COMANCHE, Texas -- An American flag whipped in the wind above scorched earth behind the Comanche High School baseball field Friday.

Flowers lay at the base of the pole, where a trailer full of fireworks blew up Thursday morning in a deadly fireball.

Nearby, the breeze rippled yellow police tape wrapped around 6-inch tubes and burned electric switches on a wooden board. They're the remains of the fireworks show that was supposed to thrill thousands.

Instead, there was only prayerful silence on July 4th for a few people who came to pay respect to Dr. Russell Reynolds. Kenny Hansmire planted the flag at spot where the fireworks exploded, killing Reynolds.

"We lost a righteous man," Hansmire said.

No matter what was needed, "he was always there," Hansmire said of his friend.

Government flags in Comanche hang at half-staff for Dr. Reynolds, a civic leader and Baptist Church deacon. He was the town's only chiropractor. Reynolds led the Kiwanis team putting together the fireworks display.

Witnesses describe men crawling to escape a fiery blizzard. Hundreds, if not thousands, of black scorch marks extend out from the blast area where the burning missiles hit.

The men were experienced and licensed for pyrotechnic displays. One remained in fair condition with burns at Parkland Hospital Friday. Two others were treated and released from a medical center in Comanche.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

This year's Comanche fireworks would have been the biggest, with nearly 4,000 shells. Instead, a candlelight vigil was planned for the ball field Friday night.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|