Fireworks blast kills father, 39, in possible accident

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New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)

A heavily explosive firework caused the death of a 39-year-old man in Swifterbant, Flevoland on Saturday afternoon. Police suspect, but have not confirmed, that the explosive was illegal, a representative told newswire ANP.

The man was killed in front of at least one of his children, a teenaged neighbor, Damian, told De Telegraaf. "At first I thought he was unconscious, but that was not the case," he said, calling the victim "Jaap".

"There was a lot of panic. I saw his son cry and scream." Damian described the aftermath, with a neighbor covering the victim's body in a blanket. First responders arrived ten minutes later.

"The fireworks that [the victim] brought out always looked very bold. He had around ten centimeters of fireworks; a sort of bomb with a very long fuse."

Police said the apparent accident took place around 4 p.m. in front of several people, including two children. It is not clear if one of the two children is the teen who spoke to the newspaper.

"The fireworks exploded in the tube itself. I heard a very loud bang and saw a lot of smoke. When the smoke cleared, I saw him on the ground," Damian said.

Authorities said it is possible the firework exploded too quickly. The victim was first reported as deceased by 4:30 p.m., and police confirmed it on Twitter fifteen minutes later.

An investigation into the case is ongoing. Access to the area around the Vogelwikke in Swifterbant was closed off during the evening.

Last New Year's Day, a 54-year-old man was severely injured in a fireworks-related explosion. He succumbed to his injuries days later at an area hospital. Johan de Lange lit a firecracker just after midnight in Meppel, Drenthe. When it did not explode, he took a closer look to see what was wrong.

The explosion happened at that moment right next to his face, causing a severe head injury.