Dauphin Island man died after fireworks incident | Mobile County Alabama News
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama (WALA) – A local resident has died following a fireworks accident off Port Royal Street on the north side of the island, authorities said.
Dauphin Island Police did not release the name of the 55-year-old victim, but neighbors identified him as John Walter. They said he went to the middle of Lafitte Bay with a paddle board and fireworks. It is said that for several years he put on a show just before the official fireworks display.
“He was over there and there were, I think, two exploded, then one of them blew up prematurely in the box,” said Ernest Ladd, who observed the incident from his home and called 911. “And what we think happened, you know, either the percussion of that, or just one of the fireworks when it exploded, hit him in the head. I think it hit him in the head. had damage to his temple.
Troy Gorlott, the town’s public safety supervisor, said the incident happened around 8:30 p.m., just before the town’s fireworks display.
“He was in the water for an undetermined time. … He was underwater and was not reacting, ”he said.
Gorlott said the man did not appear to have suffered serious burns, but added that a cause of death has not been determined. Alabama Marine Police have resumed the investigation, he said.
Mobile County Emergency Medical Services took the man to Springhill Medical Center, but he was unable to do so.
Lafitte Bay is on the north side of Dauphin Island, facing the mainland of Mobile County. It’s surrounded by houses on three sides, and most of the locals were sitting on their porches waiting for the city’s official fireworks to start.
They watched in horror as one of Walter’s fireworks exploded and it sank.
Ladd said his two sons took off after him in a kayak. Others rushed to help too.
Ladd said his youngest son had just completed a CPR course and performed a procedure on the victim until help arrived.
Friends and neighbors described Walter as gregarious and appreciated. A friend recalled July 4 a year ago, when COVID-19 canceled all official holiday festivities. He said Walter’s personal fireworks display was a welcome spectacle.
As for Ladd, he said Sunday night was difficult to watch.
“It was traumatic,” he said. “I mean, the whole bay. I mean, it’s not really – the city’s fireworks go off, and no one is really too interested to see it. It was a pretty dark moment.
Dauphin Island has an ordinance against the firing of this type of fireworks. But Gorlott said the city is full of people who live elsewhere and often don’t know the rules.
“It’s hard to enforce,” he said.
Updated at 3:46 p.m. and 4:16 p.m. with additional details.
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