More information is being released about Friday afternoon’s fireworks explosion that killed a property owner and injured three firefighters.
It happened on Bulltown Road, south of La Grange around 3:15 p.m.
According to TV station WITN, La Grange Fire Chief Ryan Riley said that Randy Herring was burning off a wheat field when the controlled burn got away from him. “He had cut around the property to secure it and it was just a freak accident that he was able to lose control,” said Riley.
The fire then made its way to a building that contained commercial fireworks.
Riley said Herring was a personal friend of his and was a former member of the fire department and currently pastor of the Berean Fellowship Church in La Grange.
The fire chief said Herring allowed a friend who owns a fireworks company to store the fireworks on his property. He said the site was all permitted and the fireworks were properly stored.
Two of the three injured firefighters are back home recovering while a third is still at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill. Riley said that firefighter is doing fine and receiving treatment.
“Everyone is just in a state of shock right now,” said the chief. “There’s as much emotional damage at this point as there is physical to the firemen.”
The department also had severe damage to three of its fire trucks, along with equipment on them. Riley said they are waiting on an insurance adjuster to see if they are a total loss.
The Lenoir County Fire Marshal’s Office is 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.
There will be a graveside service for Herring at Fairview Cemetery Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.