KINGMAN, Ariz. -- A pyrotechnician from Utah suffered severe head trauma and burns after fireworks malfunctioned during a display in northwestern Arizona, authorities say.
Assistant Kingman Fire Chief Keith Eaton said just seven minutes were left in the show when the accident occurred at 9:31 p.m. Thursday.
The lead shooter had directed Jeremy Lee, 40, of Washington, Utah, to examine a pre-packaged box of shells that were not electronically firing properly.
Lee was 5 feet away when the box containing 30 three-inch shells unexpectedly detonated at the Mohave County Fairgrounds, Eaton said. Investigators believe floating embers raining down from other fireworks may have kicked off the explosion.
Lee was wearing appropriate safety equipment but suffered a brain injury, facial fractures and burns, Eaton said. Lee underwent surgery but may still lose an eye, he added.
Lee was taken to the Kingman Regional Medical Center and later flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was listed Friday in critical condition.
Eaton said Lee's employer, fireworks contractor Lantis, notified him about the injuries.