Minnesota man loses an eye in a fireworks accident

MINNEAPOLIS — A man from Otter Tail County continues his recovery at a Twin Cities Hospital after fireworks exploded in his face during a Fourth of July celebration.

Charles Johnson, 26, was airlifted to Fargo, then to Minneapolis, but thankful he is alive and able to talk about the accident.

Johnson explained his injuries from his University of Minnesota hospital room. He said he lost an eye, and sustained burns to his hand and face.

"They want to remove the eye, they are going to put in a prosthetic eye," Johnson said. "And I am not sure insurance will pay for it."

Johnson's accident happened around 11 p.m. July 4. He had ignited a few fireworks before he walked over to light the fuse of a fountain firework when something went wrong.


"I went to light one and it blew up in my face," Johnson recalled. "It is supposed to light one at a time and it went off all at once."

"All I heard was the explosion, and I ran into the lake because I felt like I was on fire after the explosion. I took a dip in the lake and waited for the ambulance to get here," he said.

Even before the accident, it had been a rough couple of weeks for Johnson, from the Henning-Parkers Prairie, Minnesota area. Johnson's father had recently died.

Today, Johnson, the father of three young kids, is grateful for surviving... and thankful that it wasn't worse.

"It only takes a blink of an eye to change your life and that is what happened to me," Jonson said.

Family and friends have started a GoFundMe page to help Charles and his family.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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