Final words of dad who died after placing lit firework on his head

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The last words of a man who died after placing a lit firework on top of his head in front of his family have been revealed.

Allen Ray McGrew threw on an Uncle Sam costume to celebrate Independence Day on July 4, in Summerville, South Carolina.

A bit of a showboater, Allen always looked forward to the celebration and was a ‘patriot’ at heart, his wife, Paige McGrew, said.

But his family and friends watched in horror as Allen, 41, placed a large firework on his stars-and-stripes hat without realising it had been lit at about 10.30pm.

The firework exploded and the dad immediately fell to the ground – he was pronounced dead at 11.10pm, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department said.

Video showed how only moments before Allen was dancing in the front garden and doing finger guns to laughs from the crowd as mortars smoked behind him.

Paige told the New York Post that Allen was anything but a ‘drunken fool’, having only had a drink that day to celebrate both Independence Day and his son’s engagement.

Allen Ray McGrew threw an Independence Day blow-out for his family and friends (Picture: Paige McGrew)

‘He loved this country and looked forward to celebrating every year,’ Paige, 53, told the tabloid.

‘Just before the incident happened, he hugged me and his son and said: “You are my rock, and you are my heart.”

‘Me being his rock and his son being his heart.’

Allen, a refrigeration and air-conditioning installer, died of ‘massive head injuries’ which likely killed him instantly, coroners concluded.

Paige said Allen ‘didn’t realise the firework had already been lit. ‘I thought he was just showboating before he set it on the ground,’ she said.

Son, Hunter, 20, added: ‘We’re traumatized.’

Paige Morris McGrew married her husband last year (Picture: Facebook)

Eight people died last year from fireworks. While at least 9,700 people were treated for fireworks injuries, according to consumer safety officials.

Nearly seven in 10 injuries occurred in the weeks before or after July 4, with burns to hands and fingers being among the most common.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says people should double-check fireworks are legal in their area before setting any off.

Fireworks should be lit one at a time, never re-lit or picked up if not ignited properly and a bucket of water or hose should be nearby in case of a mishap.

Allen and Paige first got together in 2017 before marrying last year.

‘He was a genuine, good person and he loved life,’ Paige said.

‘He worked hard and he played hard.’

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