PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Four people were burned — and one teen hospitalized — by an illegal firework launched in Northeast Portland. One man was arrested in the incident.
Witnesses said Zackary Mosbrucker was setting off bottle rockets on NE 65th Avenue and Broadway during 4th of July celebrations. One of the rockets flew over into a neighbor’s front yard that was full of children and adults.
One of the people hurt, Gina Thurlow, said her family was just sitting down to light off their own legal fireworks when it happened.
There were two failed attempts to set off the fireworks and Thurlow said she and others asked Musbrucker to stop.
“They were going to light one off in front of us with all of our kids and stuff, and we were like, ‘Can you not do that in our yard,’ and then the lady just went across the street and do it,” Thurlow said. “They were just being careless.”
She suffered minor burns but Michael Schmidt, a Milwaukie 16-year-old, was hit in the back, setting his shirt on fire. He suffered third-degree burns.
“It really felt like needles were being jabbed in my back like 100 miles an hour and like 100 million of them,” Schmidt told KOIN 6 News on Friday.
He will likely have permanent scars after the shrapnel and flames from the mortar slammed into his back.
“He went over to protect his girlfriend because it was actually going towards her, and he took the hit,” Thurlow told KOIN 6 News.
“The only thing I saw was it landing in her lap, so I just kind of put my body over hers,” he said. “I’d rather it be me than her, anyway.”
Another man, Michael Molesworth, 38, was also taken to the hospital after suffering an eye wound.
Mosbrucker, 32, was arrested and charged with four counts of reckless endangerment.
The family said he did apologize after it happened.
“He owned up and said that he was the one with the fireworks and he took the blame for it and everything,” Schmidt said.
“I feel bad that he got in trouble for it but he was really was being stupid,” Thurlow said. “He got arrested in front of our house, but he was being stupid. And that’s the consequence of that.”