What to Know
- Authorities are trying to determine what caused two tractor-trailers filled with fireworks to explode in the Lehigh Valley, killing one person and injuring another.
- The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined state investigators at the scene in Lower Milford Township to comb through the trailers and a building that were destroyed by the series of blasts.
- Neighbors reported the blasts shook their homes and black smoke rose from the scene as fireworks exploded.
A man was killed after fireworks went off inside two trailers near his Lehigh Valley home.
The incident occurred on Orchard Road in Zionsville, Pennsylvania, Tuesday shortly before 3 p.m. Witnesses told NBC10 they saw two trailers on the property explode and go up in flames.
“We saw the mushroom cloud basically in the air from way down the hill,” Nathan Bailey told NBC10.
The fire and smoke could be seen from miles away.
“It just was smoke, black smoke,” Angela Plazola of Zionsville said. “Explosion after explosion. I think it lasted for a good 40 to 45 minutes.”
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Officials arrived at the scene and found the body of the property owner, 50-year-old Brian Ehret. An autopsy will be performed on him on Thursday to determine a cause of death.
Officials said fireworks were accidentally set inside at least two trailers in the back of Ehret's home, leading to the explosion and fire.
“It was scary,” Plazola said. “I had to make sure everyone in our backyard was alright and once we saw the house it came from I knew, he’s known for setting off fireworks.”
Witnesses said the fireworks were shooting across the property as the fire raged.
“The fireworks continued the whole time and then intermittent throughout there were major, major explosions that happened,” Bailey said.
State Police, the Bomb Squad, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lehigh County coroner were called to the scene.
Bailey told NBC10 he also saw one man with a badly injured leg trying to drive a truck away to safety before being placed in an ambulance.
“He was literally pulling the truck out of the explosions,” Bailey said. “It looked half burnt already and he pulled it up near the house.”
Officials continue to investigate.
The area of Spinnerstown Road and Orchard Road and School House Lane and Orchard Road will remain closed until the conclusion of the investigation, state police said.