River Parishes bureau
July 10, 2012
VACHERIE — Two men were injured during a Fourth of July celebration when their attempt to modify fireworks touched off an unintended explosion, the St. James Parish sheriff said Thursday.
Sheriff Willy Martin said the men were emptying the contents of legal, store-bought fireworks called artillery shells into a metal tube about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
As Farrel Isom, 41, of Vacherie, tried to pack down the material, called flash powder, into the pipe with a brass rod, the powder exploded, Martin said.
The men were working in the garage of Larry Folse Jr., 44, 29083 La. 643, Vacherie, to combine the artillery shells’ contents to create a bigger explosion, Martin said.
Isom received serious hand injuries and a second man, Larry Folse Sr., of Vacherie, no age available, the homeowner’s father, received burns to his face and eyes, Martin said.
The sheriff said the explosion shot the brass rod that Isom had been using through a rolling-type garage door overhead and into the roof, shoving up a shingle.
Isom was taken to University Hospital in New Orleans while Folse Sr. was taken to a Thibodaux hospital before being admitted to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge for further treatment, Martin said.
Martin said a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent told him the powder may become volatile under pressure.
No one was arrested but the incident remains under investigation, Martin said.