ANOKA COUNTY, Minn. - A Linwood Township man is in critical condition after an unexploded firework back fired and tore open his chest.
Nick Beheng, age 31, was taken to Regions Hospital where St. Paul's bomb squad was called after it was discovered the live round was still in his chest cavity.
"I can't think of a case where someone was impacted by an unexploded device that penetrated that deeply into their chest cavity," said Commander Paul Sommer, a spokesperson with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.
It was around 9 p.m. Saturday night when Beheng was allegedly shooting off illegal fireworks near his home on the 6800 block of 225th Lane.
"He put two devices in a tube and then held it up above his chest, which the tube was pointed directly at his chest," said Sommer.
The mortar tube backfired and one of the fireworks blasted into his chest.
"I just heard a loud explosion," said neighbor Dean Anderson. He ran down the street after hearing the explosion to find a chaotic scene of about a dozen people trying to help the man. "Yeah it's kind of devastating," he said of the accident.
Beheng was rushed to Regions Hospital with a massive chest wound including a torn heart, according to Sommer. But while there, doctors discovered the firework was still in his chest.
"The staff was nervous about the danger of the unexploded device that they contacted the St. Paul Police," said Sommer.
A member of the bomb squad, who was in the operating room at the time, advised doctors that the firework was safe to remove. Once they did, police took the live round out of the hospital, said a St. Paul Police spokesperson.
And while the situation is unique, the advice on using fireworks is still the same. "Don't compound the danger by using them irresponsibly," said Sommer.
Beheng's family released a statement through Regions Hospital Wednesday. It reads:
Nick has a long recovery ahead of him. Thank you for your prayers and support during this difficult time. We would like to thank the first responders, surgeons and medical staff at Regions Hospital who are caring for our son. We are confident he's getting the best care possible.
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