Man hurt after fireworks malfunction in Hales Corners

HALES CORNERS (WITI) -- A fireworks operator was hurt after a fireworks mishap during the Fourth of July fireworks display at Hales Corners Park on Thursday evening.

Video submitted to FOX6 News by viewer Marcia Brown shows the fireworks being launched as normal. Then about ten minutes into the July 4th show, there was a massive boom that shook the ground.

"The whole background just lit up. You could feel it in your chest. It was just a bad impact, everyone just gasping, some clapping. No one really knew what was going on," said bystander Andrea Carr.

Police say the Hales Corners fireworks were immediately stopped after what they say was a malfunction.

The man who was among those setting off the fireworks is employed by Bartolotta Fireworks.

"He was lighting the fireworks, one of them misfunctioned right away. When it blew in the pipe he didn't have time to get away. I think he got hit with a piece of wood or something, some kind of debris," said owner Jeff Bartolotta.

Police say the victim suffered a compound fracture to his ankle and burns up the left side of his body. He is now listed in stable condition at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa.

Bartolotta says the incident was a freak accident.

"We work with explosives here and they are made by humans and humans make mistakes. You never know when you light them if they are going to perform the way they are supposed to -- that's the danger involved," said Bartolotta.

The company does nearly 500 shows a year and say they have never had anything like this happen before.