FARGO — An eyewitness here says a Fourth of July fireworks accident decapitated a Fargo man Monday night.
Police identified the victim as Jesse William Burley, a 41-year-old father of two, who enjoyed life to its fullest, said Burley’s stepfather Chuck Asplin of Fargo.
Chris Hanson, Burley’s neighbor who saw the accident, was packing up his car to leave north Fargo’s Riviera Heights mobile home park as tornado sirens sounded just before 9:30 p.m.
Burley was getting ready to set off a second round of what Hanson said he believed was either a homemade or illegal artillery shell firework.
“He went over into the middle of the street, and within 10 seconds of us talking to him, he lit it and all we saw was a cloud of smoke, a bang,” Hanson said.
What Hanson saw next immediately sent him into shock, he said.
“When I walked up to his body, it was nothing but his shoulders down,” Hanson said Tuesday.
Hanson said that on Monday evening Burley asked him over to his trailer to check out something. Burley showed Hanson fireworks that contained a warning that read, “If found please report to the U.S. government,” Hanson said.
“Right there and then I knew that I had to get away because I was not going to be involved in that,” Hanson said.
Fargo police recovered a third firework device in Burley’s home on Tuesday and a metal pipe near the accident site at the 3500 block of Kelley Street North that was reportedly used as a mortar to launch shells.
Damn that's a powerful firecracker!!