Florida man dies in fireworks accident

Darren Lotow, 42, injured in fireworks explosion in Alachua County pasture


CAMPVILLE, Fla. – A man suffered fatal injuries Monday night when the fireworks he was lighting malfunctioned, Alachua County deputies said.

Darren Lotow, 42, was airlifted to UF Health Shands Hospital, where he died, deputies said. He was a father of two.

According to the Sheriff's Office, a woman called 911 around 9:30 p.m. Monday and said her husband was setting off large fireworks in a nearby pasture and she couldn't get in touch with him.

While she was still on the phone with emergency call takers, family members found Lotow, who appeared to have been injured in an explosion. They started CPR.

Deputies and Alachua County Fire Rescue responded to the pasture, which was on Northeast 22nd Lane in Hawthorne. They called an emergency helicopter because of the severity of Lotow's injuries, but he died at the hospital.

Deputies said Lotow was trying to set off large mortar-type fireworks through a PVC pipe anchored to the ground. The fireworks malfunctioned, exploding through the side of the pipe and causing traumatic injuries to Lotow's head and body, deputies said.

Family members heard the fireworks go off, and when they didn't hear from Lotow, they called police.

The State Fire Marshal's Office is also investigating.