Leechburg, PA - Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold was seriously injured in a fireworks accident on Saturday night, June 24, according to CBS Pittsburgh.
The incident occurred about 10:30 PM at the Leechburg Fireman's Carnival as Chief Diebold was lighting the mortars for a fireworks display. According to state police investigators, one of the mortars exploded.
Witness Jimmy Francis was a spectator at the event and said, “One of the fireworks went off, and it didn’t go up in the air. Then another two went off, and after those two went off, I heard screaming, ‘Help! Help!" He and others ran towards an area behind a warehouse on Canal Street to help.
He said he saw an injured man missing part of his arm and ear, and that he appeared to be going into shock. The Armstrong County District Attorney's Office confirmed that the injured man was Chief Diebold.
Francis said that part of the Chief's arm was missing, "probably from the forearm down." Police would not confirm or provide further details on the extent of Chief Diebold's injuries. The DA's Office said that Chief Diebold owned a private business in Leechburg, Aura Fireworks. The ATF said that the Chief has a license for display fireworks.
It appears that the mortar that exploded was a faulty firework. Chief Diebold's mother said, "Last night, he looked like he would never make it, but today he is doing great. Half of it is because all of the people in Leechburg that supported him from last night until now."
Mortars are the same sort of fireworks that Antifa has been launching at police officers.
Chief Diebold was transported for treatment to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he is listed in stable condition in their burn and trauma unit. He lost his left hand and part of his left arm in the accident.
The Pittsburgh State Police and the ATF are conducting the investigation. On Sunday night, State Police Captain Mike Ignatz said, “I think it’s important to know that Mike’s community is out here to support him. He’s badly injured, but with the strength he’s going to get from this community behind him, I’m sure he’s going to be fine.”
A candlelight vigil was held Sunday night, June 25, at the Leechburg Fire Hall. Many attended, including police officers, firefighters, family, and friends.
'A custom printing company in Leechburg, Little Devils Imprints, is selling T-shirts to benefit Chief Diebold and his family.' According to WTAE, the company created the T-shirts to raise money for Chief Diebold 's medical expenses, and all proceeds will be donated. Over 300 shirts have been sold so far, according to Tracy Schaeffer, who is part-owner of the T-shirt company.
Our thoughts and prayers are with injured Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold. Get well, soon.