Moment makeshift firework explodes at NJ holiday party, leaving man badly injured

Moment makeshift firework explodes at NJ holiday party, leaving man badly injured

A New Jersey father and son have been arrested for lighting a makeshift firework that sent shrapnel flying as far as a football field away, leaving a neighbor in critical condition with a stomach wound likened to “a wartime injury” caused by a “pipe bomb.”

Security camera footage from a barbecue party in Manville captured the moment the explosive was lit at the center of Cooper Street Park at around 8:15 p.m. Saturday, NBC 4 reports.

A man could be seen running away after igniting the explosive, which goes up in smoke and sends shrapnel soaring across the neighborhood in all directions, hitting a 34-year-old man in the stomach.

“It wasn’t a Fourth of July celebratory firework, it was a pipe bomb,” neighbor Dayna Cammacho told the outlet. “It was like a wartime injury, it was horrible.”

An explosion was set of in New Jersey’s Cooper Street Park as neighbors were having a party on Saturday. NBC New York
The explosion sent shrapnel flying across the neighborhood, destroying one family’s brand new car. NBC New York

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was given first aid by a trauma nurse who was hosting a high school graduation party for her godson.

He was eventually airlifted to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he has undergone multiple surgeries.

Along with striking the victim, the shrapnel burst through multiple homes in the area, with one metal piece seen whizzing through an entire home after ripping through a bedroom, bathroom and even an outdoor gazebo before finally coming to a halt against a neighbor’s bathroom tub.

Cammacho believed attendees at her party were only spared because a car was parked between them and the park, with the vehicle catching the shrapnel that would have hit them.

The shrapnel went as far as 100 yards, with one piece ripping through a neighbor’s home. NBC New York
The shrapnel went deep inside the house, piercing through the bathroom walls. NBC New York

Officials say the metal pieces were launched as far as 100 yards from the Cooper Street Park.

Following the blast, police arrested Thomas Kaiser, 60, and his 28-year-old son Erich.

The pair were accused of lighting the explosive, which was identified as a signal cannon, a type of incendiary device meant to create a large boom and smoke cloud.

Thomas Kaiser, 60, was arrested over the incident that left one man seriously injured. Manville Police
Kaiser’s son, Erich, was also arrested and charged over the incident. Manville Police

The father and son were both charged with aggravated assault and possession of an explosive device, with the pair released from custody pending a hearing in Somerset County Superior Court, officials said.

Records show this is not the older Kaiser’s first run in with the law regarding fireworks.

Thomas was arrested in 2019 after bringing a cooler full of fireworks into a Jersey Shore bar during a Fourth of July celebration, causing the event to be canceled.

Thomas was arrested and pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of prohibited weapons. He was sentenced to a year of probation.

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