A Lewiston man died Sunday after lighting a powerful commercial-grade fireworks shell in a cinder block in Sabattus.

Pieces of the exploding cinder block struck and killed the man, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Timothy Whitney Sr., 57, was standing about 15 feet away from the exploding shell when he was struck about 2 p.m. He died shortly after arrival at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Three family members standing about 85 feet away were not injured, but the blast sent chunks of the cinder block into two homes 140 feet away, McCausland said Sunday night.

McCausland said Whitney acquired the fireworks sometime in the past year. It’s a kind of firework that is available only to licensed fireworks operators, and Whitney was not a licensed operator.

The last fireworks death in Maine was in July 2015 in Calais, when a 22-year-old man died after lighting a fireworks mortar tube on top of his head.

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