Cheraw man dies in fireworks accident

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By Vanessa Tyson

A 24-year-old Cheraw man was killed Wednesday while shooting off Independence Day fireworks at Dizzy Gillespie Apartments in Cheraw.

M.C. Gallion III and some friends were apparently holding the mortar-shell launch tubes in their hands and shooting them off when a shell hit him in the chest, according to a statement from the Cheraw Police Department.

One shell was likely put into the tube backward and burst from the bottom of the tube, hitting Gallion and killing him, the statement said.

Police responded to the call at about 9:50 p.m. and found Gallion on the ground, with a female performing CPR on him. The officers took over CPR until MedShore Ambulance Services arrived. Gallion was transported to McLeod Health in Cheraw, where he was pronounced dead.

The Chesterfield County Coroner’s Office has ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The police are investigating what happened leading up to the incident.

Citing witness accounts, the police statement said it appears  Gallion was holding a mortar tube in his hands in an attempt to launch aerial fireworks. The explosion from the bottom of the tube struck Gallion in the upper torso and he  collapsed. 

The police department reported that one hour before Gallion was injured, another person from the same group lost part of his hand in a similar accident and was taken to Charleston for surgery.

According to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about seven U.S. deaths a year because of fireworks. About one-third of firework injuries are to hands and fingers, according to the CPSC.