Fire captain speaks out about being hurt in fireworks accident

Capt. Jay Northup uses his experience of getting hit in the face with a mortar as a warning to others that fireworks accidents can happen to anyone

By FireRescue1 Staff

EUCLID, Ohio — A firefighter who was severely injured in a fireworks accident is using his experience as a warning to others.

FOX8 reported that 25-year veteran Euclid Fire Captain Jay Northup was setting up fireworks in 2016 like he did every year when things took a scary turn.

“We were having a Fourth of July party and like I did in the past, I went behind our shed to set off the fireworks,” Capt. Northup said. “I had all the kids up front by the garage to make sure no one would get hurt, never thinking it would be me instead.”

Capt. Northup added that he went to take a closer look when a couple of the fireworks did not go off.

 “As I peeled the paper I was about 12 inches away from the tube and the tube hit me right in the face,” he said. “I heard one of buddies yelling at me, asking if I was OK. I just got hit in the face with a mortar. I’m sure not good. I said ‘no and you probably should get my wife.’”

Capt. Northup’s wife, who is an ER nurse, drove him to the hospital.

“Right after it happened, I remember thinking to myself that I think I am going to die and I don’t even know where I am or what happened,” he said.

Dr. Thomas Steinemann said Capt. Northup’s eye required several medical procedures and took time to heal.

“The front of the eye suffered what we call a contusion that deformed the whole front of the eye,” he said.

Capt. Northup said he could have lost vision in his eye if it weren’t for the quick care he received, and he added that others should take his experience as a warning that it could happen to anyone.

“It’s not worth it,” he said. “Go to the professional fireworks shows. Do not think it won’t happen to you. I know I am going to get a lot of razzing at the firehouse and I am more than willing to subject myself to any and all of it, as long as I can keep one person from having to go through what I did.”

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