Father Dies After Lighting Fireworks Off His Chest

| by Alexander Rubinstein

A Columbus, Texas, father has died after shooting fireworks from his chest. He is the second person killed in one week by lighting a firework off a body.

Justin Bartek, 30, was a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier described as being full of personality and generosity.

“He just had an infectious spirit, whenever you met him you met a friend,” friend Erica Jackson told Click 2 Houston.

“He was the light of many people’s lives and the world to the people that knew him, and he would give the world to any that asked,” she added.

According to Colorado County Sherriff’s officials, Bartek and his friends were shooting off fireworks on the Colorado River. Bartek put a firework, known as the Medieval Knight, on his chest. The firework exploded, and Bartek was critically injured. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died.

"You don't see that smiling face coming at you and just waving and just giving you a nice little pep in your day," Jackson said. "I was driving by to go to the post office and I saw a postal truck, and just out of habit is to go wave, and it wasn't him."

An autopsy will determine exactly how Bartek died and whether he meant to light the firework off his chest, officials say.

Bartek leaves behind his 3-year-old son, Braxton, and his girlfriend of 10 years, Summer Jenkins, reports New York Daily News.

Bartek’s mother and her husband tended to Bartek’s brother, who had also been involved in an accident on July 4.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Braxton’s schooling.

Devon Staples, 22, died similarly to Bartek after placing a mortar-type firework on top of his head at a party in Calais, Maine. Police maintain Devon was trying to launch the firework, but his brother describes it as a “freak accident.” The brother says the firework went off accidently, and Devon’s mother says her son believed the firework was a dud, Daily Mail reports.

Sources: Click 2 Houston, New York Daily News, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Screenshot via Click 2 Houston