NEW INFO: Survivor Of Fireworks Blast Speaks; Fund Established

Doctors say the sole survivor of a fireworks explosion that killed four others on the Outer Banks will recover from burns on his arms and face but will face a lifetime of therapy.

Martez Holland of Goldsboro suffered third-degree burns on about 13 percent of his body. A single blast occurred while the 27-year-old Holland and four other workers, including his uncle, Terry Holland, were unloading fireworks off a truck Saturday morning.

Holland said from his hospital bed at the University of North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center that everything was going fine until the explosion. "I was laying by paramedics when i came left and right arm were already damaged".

Doctors at the burn center say the hospital treated multiple adults and at least two children with fireworks injuries on July 4.

Memorial Fund Established

A memorial fund has been established to help the families of Saturday's explosion.

You can send donations to:

Ocracoke Fireworks Disaster Fund
c/o The Lord's Table
PO Box 11049
Goldsboro, NC 27532

All proceeds go to the victim's families.

Investigation Could Take Months

The North Carolina Department of Labor says it could take three or four months before an investigation into Saturday's explosion on Ocracoke Island is completed.

Labor Department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry says their investigators have been looking to the explosionto see if there were any occupational safety and health standards violations. Four employees were killed and another injured as they were unloading a truck full of fireworks Saturday morning.

Melrose South Pyrotechnics has had no violations in North Carolina, but had been cited in South Carolina for one previous safety violation. A 2001 explosion at its plant near Rock Hill, S.C., killed a 24-year-old seasonal employee and injured two workers. In a settlement with the state, the company agreed to pay a reduced fine of $20,750 without acknowledging any wrongdoing.

Two years ago, two employees were hurt during a fireworks show at Fort Stewart, Ga. Officials blamed a firework that detonated prematurely and started a chain reaction.

Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangements have been announced for two of the four people killed on Ocraocoke Island on Independence Day.

The family of Mark Hill will receive guests Tuesday from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Shackleford-Howell Funeral Home in Fremont in Wayne County. The graveside service is planned for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Princeton.

The funeral for Charles Kirkland, Jr. will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Howell Funeral Home & Crematory in Goldsboro. The graveside service will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. at Hollywood Cemetery in Newsoms, Virginia.

Funeral plans for Terry Holland and Lisa Simmons have not been announced.

Previous Story

The victims in the tragic Ocracoke fireworks blast have been confirmed by a member of the church that they have attended.

Those who died have been identified by Mitch Ham of the Lords Table church in Goldsboro as Mark Hill, Terry Holland, Charles Kirkland Junior, and Lisa Simmons. Holland was the maintenance director for the church, Kirkland junior was the son of the Church's care pastor and Simmons was identified as a parishioner.

The nephew of Holland, Marquez Holland, is the only survivor right now and is at the burn center in Chapel Hill. He's listed in fair condition. Officials say that survivor has burns on 20% of his body.

Previous Story:

The Hyde County Sheriff's Office now confirms that a fourth person has died in the fireworks explosion on Ocracoke Island. According to the Sheriff's Office that person died at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

That means three males and one female are now dead.

The loan survivor is at the burn center with more than 20 percent of his body burned. As of Sunday night he was listed in fair condition. ATF has ruled the incident an accident saying it occurred during the set-up of the show.

The previous stories are below:

Three people are dead after the explosion of a fireworks truck on Ocracoke Island Saturday.

One person died on the island, one died at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, and other passed away at the Jaycees Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Two people were critically injured.

One of the survivors is at the burn center in Chapel Hill and is listed in fair condition. Officials say that survivor has burns on 20% of his or her body.

The other survivor was last listed at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, but officials say there is no information to report.

The victims have not been identified. Officials say that will happen once all family has been notified.

Officials say a cause has not been confirmed.

According to a news release Sunday afternoon from Hyde County officials:

"During the explosion, the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department and Hyde County EMS crews were already on site for safety precautions. There were no critically injured bystanders or volunteers, but two volunteer firemen were transported to Outer Banks Hospital for observation and treatment of inhalation and exhaustion. One firefighter was released Saturday night and the other firefighter is expected to be released today. An investigation of the site and cause of the explosion will continue today with representatives of the State Federal Bureau, Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal. Representatives from Melrose Pyrotechnics are on the island today to assist with the investigation."

A memorial parade is being held at 3 p.m.

Ferries are running on a regular schedule. Call 1-800-BY-FERRY for information.

Previous Story:

Ocracoke, NC -- Three people are confirmed dead after fireworks being set up for an Independence Day celebration on Ocracoke Island blew up.

Two people were critically injured. As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, there was no additional information about their conditions from officials.

Officials say all of the victims were from Melrose Pyrotechnics in South Carolina, and they were setting up the island's fireworks when the explosion happened about 9:15 a.m.

Hyde County spokesperson Jamie Tunnell tells WITN News that one person died at the scene, one died at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and another died at the Jaycees burn center in Chapel Hill.

Tunnell says the state EMS, SBI, Bomb Squad and ATF were all on the scene. Tunnell was unsure if they were conducting a joint investigation or separate one. She did say that all the aforementioned agencies will be on the scene Sunday morning.

Tunnell declined to give WITN names of the victims saying not all next of kin was notified. She also said that the company Melrose Pyrotechnics will probably be the one to release the names.

The ferries, which were once shut down because of the explosion, are now up and running back on schedule according to Tunnell.

Original Story

Ocracoke, NC -- WITN News has confirmed with sheriff's officials there has been an explosion on Ocracoke Island in Hyde County.

An 18-wheeler loaded with fireworks exploded near the ferry docks.

Multiple reports say two people are dead, and three others are critically injured.

Officials say they are all from Melrose Pyrotechnics in South Carolina, and they were setting up the Island's fireworks tonight when the explosion happened about 9:15 a.m.

Melrose officials tell WITN-TV "a company representative is in route to the site, to work with local authorities in their investigation. We do not have any further information at this time. We will report any details as we receive them."

Jane Hodges, Hyde County interim Emergency Manager, released an update shortly after noon:

It reports:

"There was an immediate response from Hyde County Sheriff’s Department, the National Park Service, NC DOT Ferry Division, Marine Fisheries, and volunteers to handle the crowds and assess the situation. Fortunately, there were three doctors including a medical examiner and volunteer nurses who responded immediately along with the staff of the Ocracoke Health Center and Hyde County EMS.

Representatives from Dare, Pender, and Carteret counties were on the scene as well.

Two helicopters with East Care, from Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC, and one from Dare Medflight, responded to transfer the critically injured for further care.

Two volunteer firemen were transported by Dare Co. EMS to be treated for inhalation and exhaustion.

The Hatteras Island ferry was temporarily suspended but is now open and Highway 12 is clear. The south dock on Ocracoke island for the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries remains shut down until the scene is cleared to ensure safety.

Representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Company will be on site this afternoon to evaluate the scene.

There will be another release when more information is available."

Gwen Myers of Washington, who used to work at WITN, is at Ocracoke this holiday weekend.

"The explosion happened near the ferry docks," Myers said. "It was unreal. There was a huge boom. The explosion peeled the top off the 18-wheeler truck."

Myers said even hours after the explosion you can still smell fireworks in the air. She said it’s believed all those hurt are employees of the company putting on the fireworks.

Click here for Carolina Camera to submit or look at Ocracoke explosion photos.

Ocracoke's fireworks display was scheduled for 9 p.m. tonight.

The more recent census numbers show Ocracoke Island with a population of less than 800. In the summer months, thousands of people travel to the Hyde County Island by ferry to visit.

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  • by Lee Location: Wayne on Nov 15, 2009 at 08:29 PM
    What the person that issued a permit for firewroks , that didnt have the authority to do so? I've not read any follow up of some skipping the proper channels. They have things get out of hand.
  • by Lil Sis Location: Alabama on Nov 11, 2009 at 04:51 PM
    Lisa was my older sister. It is only fair to say that growing up - she was my rock! She protected me come what may. I looked up to her and although we are all human and make our own share of mistakes, my sister never failed me. She left this earth from a place she loved amoung the company of friends and people who accepted her and loved her unconditionally. She and Terry shared a special bond that they carried till the end. I can't think of a better way to be called home. The road ahead is a long one as we pick up the pieces and move forward without my sister. We attempt to answer her young sons questions one at a time. Through it all, one thing is for grateful I am to go through this pain than to have never had Lisa in my life and been able to avoid it. I will always love and miss you! Your lil sis.
  • by Matarsha Location: Gaithersburg, MD on Oct 23, 2009 at 12:58 PM
    @Family Member: If you are a family memeber then call my sister, Malisa.. She knows.. You can get her number from Janice Holland. Yes, Linda your right... Terry was a good man. A precious soul.. I have known him forever and will miss him too very much. My sister twin girls will grow up not knowing how good of a dad that they had. But like the preacher said at the funeral, "No one complains about the way that they get in to heavan" God Bless, Matarsha
  • by Family Member Location: Carolinas on Jul 12, 2009 at 09:28 PM
    For vacationing in OI Location:Boone 7-9-09 What are the rumors that you have heard, on the island, for the cause of the explosion? We would really like to find out as we are trying to put closure to this.
  • by vacationing in OI Location: Boone on Jul 9, 2009 at 01:23 PM
    i was camping on the island when the explosion happened. thunderous booming for 5 seconds. my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. i hope that the rumors i heard on the island for the cause of the explosion are not true...
  • by DIsgustedB Location: NC on Jul 9, 2009 at 06:22 AM
    WITN: thanx for your compassionin removing the offending comment. U know, I like to post statements at certain times to get a "rise' out of someone on a political, or a "justice" issue, but just becasue we have 1st ammendement rights of "free speech" doesn't mean we have to exercise them on every issue. What has happened to a country that used to have compassion for the lest fortunate and kindness toward their neighbors? It will take a long time for these families & Church to begin to put their lives back together. Glad to hear the survivor is doing better. My Grandmother (98) on her deathbed told me of all the changes she had seen in her nearly 100 yrs & and the 1 thing that had changed the most that didn't have to change at all was KINDNESS. She noted that not many people nowdays do much from the goodness of their heart, that mmostly there is $$$ attached to it. Such a shame! We all need to get back 2 caring for one another.
  • by Linda Location: Greenville, NC on Jul 8, 2009 at 08:57 PM
    My condolences go out to all of the victim's families and church families involved in this tragic event. I have known Terry for most of my life and I am truly sorry to see that he was one of the victims, he was a gentle and kind person. May God comfort you in your loss. Linda...
  • by CCC Location: Greenville on Jul 8, 2009 at 11:47 AM
    No bev/obama; You cannot raise our insurance rates because we like to watch dangerous fireworks once a year.
  • by Terry Location: Ocracoke on Jul 8, 2009 at 11:34 AM
    The report from the Associated Press has been saying that the explosion happened at the Anchorage Marina. The story above states the same thing. Luckily that is not true. The Anchorage Marina is located in an area that would have been much more populated and would have been much more disasterous. The blast happened in a parking lot by the NCCAT building next to the ferry docks...a less populated area. All of Ocracoke is mourning the loss of Terry Holland, Charles Kirkland, Jr, Mark Hill and Lisa Simmons. We are also praying for the survivor, Martez Holland. He has a long road ahead of him. These 5 people will never be forgotten here and the feeling on the island remains surreal.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Jul 8, 2009 at 08:55 AM
    Best of luck to Martez in his recovery process. I feel terrible for him, not only for the fact that he is seriously hurt, but also the fact that he lost his uncle. I feel for the family friends and church members that were close to him. This is another situation that proves that nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. To Life is Fragile, you say that death of a spouse is fragile, I would like to know where you found that out on.

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