A Dinwiddie woman whose husband was killed while making fireworks in a trailer says he was working on expanding his annual Fourth of July display.
It is illegal in Dinwiddie to make, buy or set off your own fireworks, but Kelly Laplante had put on displays for more than a hundred people for years.
However, Laplante was killed Sunday, from an explosion while he made fireworks in a trailer next to his house for this year's celebration.
Laplante's wife of 25 years, Patricia, says he loved putting on Fourth of July shows for his friends and neighbors. More than a hundred people would watch his Fourth of July show from their large property. He decided to expand his display, this year.
"He had over $3,000 worth of fireworks (in the trailer), to put on his show," said Patricia, of her husband's collection which was both bought and homemade.
Patricia says her husband was mixing chemicals in a container, when something went tragically wrong. She and the couple's 14-year-old daughter were inside the house, when it shook from the blast.
"Usually there's one firework, but this time it sounded like there was about 1,000 of them at one time," described Patricia.
She ran to her husband in the trailer, who had severe injuries to his face and torso.
"First, he said he couldn't feel his arm, and I tried to tell him, ‘That's because it's gone.' Then he said he couldn't see, and I didn't have the heart to him that his eye was out."
Laplante's daughter also rushed to her father's side.
"She took the shirt off her back and gave it to me to wrap around his arm."
Laplante died during the flight to the hospital.
Patricia says Laplante was careful when making fireworks, always wearing gloves and a mask. She says he learned to make fireworks from the internet and had only practiced for about a year.
"It was a horrible accident, and that's all it was, an accident," said Patricia.
Laplante's family plans to honor his life with a celebration at their home, where many would gather for the upcoming holiday.
Copyright 2013 WWBT. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics