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Dad Dies After Placing Lit Firework on His Head During Fourth of July Party

A Fourth of July celebration turned tragic in Summerville, South Carolina, when a man lost his life after placing a lit firework on his head.

Allen McGrew passed away at the age of 41 (Facebook/ Allen McGrew)
Allen McGrew passed away at the age of 41 (Facebook/ Allen McGrew)

Incident Details

On Thursday, July 4, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s department responded to an emergency call at a residence on Cottonwood Drive. The call was made following an incident involving 41-year-old Allen Ray McGrew, who had placed a lit firework on his head, resulting in a fatal explosion.

Allen McGrew’s Last Moments

Allen McGrew, who was 41 at the time of his death, had been celebrating the Fourth of July in a festive Uncle Sam outfit. According to his wife, Paige McGrew, Allen was holding a firework over his top hat around 10:30 PM. She initially thought he was merely showing off before setting the firework on the ground. However, she soon realized he had already lit it. Despite warnings from her and others, the firework detonated.

Allen McGrew collapsed immediately following the explosion. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:10 PM. The coroner reported that McGrew suffered “massive head injuries,” which caused his instant death.

Reactions and Reflections

Paige McGrew spoke to The Post and Courier about the incident, reflecting on the night’s events. She mentioned that while everyone had been drinking a little, Allen was not a regular drinker. The Fourth of July celebration was also meant to be an opportunity to celebrate their son Hunter’s engagement and forthcoming wedding.

Paige recalled, “Allen loved this holiday. He was a patriot, he was proud of his son, and he was excited to have a new daughter-in-law. He was living his best life last night.

The dad died in a tragic accident (Kate McGrew)
The dad died in a tragic accident (Kate McGrew)

Safety Warnings

The tragic accident has prompted officials to reiterate the dangers associated with fireworks. Chelsea Burkett, Public Information Officer for Cal Fire’s Santa Clara Unit, emphasized the risks: “It happens every year. We see it often and we strongly encourage residents to let the professionals do the show.”

Despite the fireworks used by Allen being legal, Burkett and other officials warned about the dangers posed by all fireworks, including illegal ones. Dr. Cliff Sheckter, Medical Director of the Regional Burn Center at Valley Medical Center, cautioned, “These are mortars, small pieces of dynamite. These can and will blow off your fingers and your hands. Unfortunately, these types of injuries are not reparable in most circumstances and that obviously is life-altering.”

Final Thoughts

The death of Allen McGrew serves as a tragic reminder of the potential dangers of fireworks. Authorities continue to advise the public to enjoy fireworks displays conducted by professionals and to exercise extreme caution when handling any type of firework.

For those affected by bereavement and seeking confidential support, The Compassionate Friends can be contacted at (877) 969-0010.

This incident underscores the importance of safety during celebrations and the devastating impact that a moment of recklessness can have on families and communities.

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