COMANCHE -- Instead of the traditional 4th of July celebrations, there will be mourning Friday night in Comanche, a day after a fireworks explosion killed one man and injured three others.
The town’s local newspaper, the Comanche Chief, has identified one of the injured victims as Larry McKnight, a member of the Kiwanis Club. News 8 has confirmed he was one of the volunteers helping with the fireworks show and is listed in fair condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Dr. Russell Reynolds, the man who organized the show for more than two decades, was killed.
Friday morning community leaders, who typically would be preparing for one of the town’s biggest events, instead met to decide how to mourn the loss of the man who started the fireworks tradition 24 years ago.
Reynolds was killed when a trailer full of fireworks exploded as he was getting it ready for Friday night’s Family on the Fourth activities. Shortly after the explosion, all of the planned activities for Independence Day were canceled out of respect for the families involved.
There will be a candlelight service to mourn the loss of the popular doctor, Kiwanis president, and church deacon whose name had become synonymous with the celebration.
“The community is still very much in shock and in disbelief,” said Jacci Stewart, who works for the City of Comanche. “Russell was such an icon, well respected and so well thought of, that it is just so hard to fathom that he will no longer be a presence in our community.”
The vigil will be held at the Comanche High School stadium, which is near the site of the accident. It begins at 9 p.m. and is open to the public.