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'He was just celebrating the Fourth:' Cheraw man dies after being hit with fireworks

The accident happened at the Dizzy Gillespie Apartments in Cheraw. (Source: WMBF News) The accident happened at the Dizzy Gillespie Apartments in Cheraw. (Source: WMBF News)

CHERAW, SC (WMBF) – A 24-year-old man has died after being hit with fireworks Wednesday night in Cheraw.

According to a news release from the Cheraw Police Department, the victim has been identified as M.C. Gallion III.

Police responded to the Dizzy Gillespie apartment complex around 9:50 p.m. after receiving a report that a man was struck in the upper torso with fireworks.

When officers arrived on scene, a woman was performing CPR on the victim, who was laying on the ground. Police say Gallion was transported to McLeod Health Cheraw, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Witnesses on scene told police Gallion was a holding a cylinder tube in his hands in an attempt to discharge aerial-type fireworks. The fireworks exploded, hitting the victim in the torso before he collapsed, the release says.

Residents in the area said people always play with fireworks, but this is the first time they know of that someone unfortunately died from it.

"I hate that this happened because it was a complete accident," Monique Johnson said.

"He was just celebrating the Fourth with everybody," Tederick Gillespie said.

Residents said what started as a night of holiday fun turned into a celebration gone wrong.

"At first I just thought it was one of the kids throwing the fireworks, but then it got quiet, it got real quiet. Everyone stopped moving," Johnson said

"I never seen nothing like that before, man. That junk was shocking, scary," Gillespie said.

Officials with the Cheraw Housing Authority, which manages the property, said fireworks are prohibited and that they reminded the residents of this the day before the accident.

Despite that, residents said they have "firework wars" every year.

"They shoot each other all the time with it, but for someone to get hurt like this, that never happen around here," Gillespie said

"It does get a little crazy, like people’s cars do get hit up with the fireworks," Johnson said.

Johnson had known Gallion since the eighth grade. She said he was her first friend when she moved to Cheraw

"He was sweet and nice. First person to talk to me," Johnson said. "He wasn't like, 'Oh that's the new girl, she's weird.' He actually spoke to me."

Cheraw Police Chief Keith Thomas also said another incident involving fireworks happened at the same apartment complex just an hour before the fatal accident. Similar to Gallion, the man held the fireworks incorrectly and injured his hand. He was transported to a hospital in Charleston.

The Chesterfield County Coroner’s Office has ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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