Man injured when fireworks exploded in car in Dayton

DAYTON — Fireworks triggered a car explosion Fourth of July evening that critically injured a man, who was pulled from the burning car, and caused minor injuries to several people outside.

  • Blast reported at 6:03 p.m. in the 3300 block of Delphos Avenue
  • Keshawn Rivers, 38, was pulled from burning vehicle, remains in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital
  • Police believe fireworks are to blame; Dayton Bomb Squad awaiting tests

UPDATE @ 11:40 p.m. (July 6):

Dayton police detectives continue to investigate the incident, saying they are awaiting the result s of a lab analysis for confirmation that the explosion was caused by fireworks, the release said.

It’s too early in the investigation to determine what Rivers was doing in the car just before the explosion occurred or if he was impaired in any way, the release said. But detectives are still evaluating evidence and statements related to this case, and they are considering criminal charges, according to the release.

During their investigation, detectives found a van containing fireworks in the area of the vehicle explosion and determined that they were legal, the release said. Detectives warned the unidentified person who the fireworks belongs to that it’s illlegal to set them off in Ohio, according to the release.

There is no indication that the van or its operator are related to the car explosion, the release said.

UPDATE@1:41 p.m.

Thomas Maddox, one of several people who pulled a man from a burning car on the Fourth of July, was grilling when fireworks inside the vehicle exploded.

“I saw a young man in a car and I saw a life in that car, and I helped that life get out of that car because that car was catching on fire,” he said. “I pray that he’s okay and I pray that everyone who was injured was okay.”

Maddox said the explosion sounded more like a bomb going off than fireworks. A skylight on the vehicle flew off in the explosion, striking Maddox’s vehicle, which set off the airbags inside and knocked off his rearview mirror.

Maddox didn’t know the victim, Keshawn Rivers, but other people at the party were friends with him. He said the incident was a terrible accident.

“It’s just a mishap that happened and that was it,” he said. “There was nothing targeted. We’re not in a war. It was an accident.”

UPDATE @ 11:20 a.m. (July 5):

People near the vehicle explosion on Delphos Avenue on the Fourth of July evening struggled to free a man from the smoking car for several minutes, audio from a 911 call shows.

“Hurry up,” the caller said to the 911 dispatcher. “You have to hurry up. Hurry up.”

The woman said she did not know how the explosion had happened. The dispatcher said the people at the scene should help the victim if it was safe and stay away from the vehicle.

After the man was pulled from the car, the woman told the dispatcher he was breathing but unconscious.

At last check, the victim identified as Keshawn Rivers, 38, of Dayton, was in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital.

UPDATE @ 10:10 p.m. (July 4):

Dayton police wrapped up their on-scene investigation of a Delphos Avenue car explosion that left a man severely injured and fighting for his life.

The road is back open and residents allowed back inside their homes.

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That’s how Dayton Bomb Squad Lt. Jason Hall described the damage from a black car exploding around 6 p.m. in the 3300 block of Delphos Avenue.

An official on scene said a man inside the car had just bought fireworks, lit one inside the car and tried to throw it out. But instead, it came back in the car and ignited the rest of the fireworks, causing the large blast.

“There was some damage to structures, there was a power line to a house that was taken down.”

The blast was so intense, it deployed the airbags in a car parked across the street and caused minor injuries to several people who were outside when the car exploded.

For much of the evening, police had Delphos Avenue blocked off, and evacuated the neighborhood as a precaution.

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“Safety is always paramount for us. We are going to get people away from the situation, slow things down, determine what had happened, make sure there are no additional threats,” Hall said.

While officers said it was fireworks that triggered the blast, Hall said he was awaiting test results to confirm.

“If it does turn out to be fireworks ... fireworks are extremely dangerous. They need to be handled with respect and they need to be handled professionally. Every year there are multiple injuries related to fireworks in the region,” he said.

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