Thursday, June 17, 2004

Dumb ass

Explosion smashes Lincoln man's face
By Leah Thorsen

It was an explosion of concrete, not of color.

An explosion heard up to a mile away from Brian Kitten's south Lincoln yard.

An explosion that shot a chunk of concrete into Kitten's face, knocking him out, breaking his jaw and smashing some teeth.

The fireworks show didn't go as planned.

That's why Kitten, co-owner of Brewsky's, was listed in fair condition Monday afternoon at BryanLGH Medical Center West.

On Friday, Kitten was in his yard at 1955 S. Pershing Road, near South 20th and Calvert streets.

About 11 p.m., Kitten tried to fire an artillery fireworks shell from a homemade launcher, which was a five-gallon bucket with concrete on the bottom, police said.

Maybe he incorrectly loaded the shell, which was lit by a long wick, into a tube. Or maybe it got stuck, said Ken Hilger, the city fire inspector investigating the explosion.

Whatever happened, the fireworks - listed as "Class B," meaning they're intended for use at commercial shows - exploded too early.

The blast sent chunks of the bucket and concrete flying in a circle, smashing through a fence, breaking windows in Kitten's house and a neighboring house - and ripping apart Kitten's face.

"He was kind of lucky where he got hit," Hilger said.


A little higher, the concrete would have hit his forehead. A little lower, his neck. Both could have been fatal, he said.

The explosion was so fast that Kitten, standing 20 yards away, couldn't have gotten out of the way. The blast also injured another man's hand.

No permit had been issued to light this type of fireworks at Kitten's house, according to the city's Bureau of Fire Prevention.

No citations had been given out as of Monday afternoon, but Hilger said his investigation was continuing.

No one answered a knock on Kitten's door Monday afternoon, and a woman who answered the phone later didn't want to answer questions.

This wasn't the gunshot-like popping of fireworks heard all over the city during the summer, according to neighbors.

"It sounded like a big explosion," said Donna Sutton, who lives half a block away. "Not like a firecracker, like an explosion."

The bang startled Abe, a 13-year-old cat that lives about five houses away from Kittens' house.

"It got your attention," said Susan Blackman, his owner.

The cat had been lounging on a fireplace hearth before the noisy explosion sent the mild-mannered feline flying from its perch.

She said she didn't know the 40-year-old Kitten, but she hoped such going-ons wouldn't happen again.

"Adults shouldn't be doing this," she said.

Keep um comming Jesse, hey do you know these dumbasses?


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