An Indiana man was killed in a fireworks-related accident early Sunday after a mortar shell exploded inside of a firework tube, according to reports.
The victim, Steven E. Sims, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident in Salamonie Township – about 90 miles northeast of Indianapolis – after he was struck by shrapnel in or near the abdomen, said Philip Zahm, Huntington County’s chief deputy coroner.
“An initial investigation into the incident determined the mortar shell exploded inside the tube, causing the pressure to breech the side of the tube, and striking the victim,” Zahm wrote in a news release, according to The Star Press.
The coroner said efforts to resuscitate the Hartford City man were unsuccessful.
An autopsy will be conducted, and toxicology test results are pending, according to the paper.
“The final cause and manner of death will be determined based on the outcome of the autopsy,” the release added.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.