Updated July 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM CST: The backfiring of a homemade rocket sends one man to the hospital. Now officials are investigating what may have went wrong.
Crews from Labette County were called to the home at 23000 and Queens Road, just outside of Parsons, shortly after 12 p.m. on Sunday for an injury resulting from a homemade chemical rocket.
Officials say the rocket backfired sending a man to the hospital with a leg injury. While there's no word on the man's condition, officials are investigating to see if any rules were broken.
"They had placed or positioned this rocket in the roadway," says Labette County Sheriff Robert Sims. "It was on a device or a sled so to speak that was intended to go down the road. Unfortunately when they did so, it misfired and veered off course."
The rocket struck Stephan Fienan, 53 of Parsons. He was airlifted to KU Medical Center for serious injuries to his leg.
Fienan was planning to shoot off the rocket with a 47 year old woman, her 15 year old son, and a 16 year old nephew.
The rocket was intended to shoot off down the roadway where no homes or obstructions sit.
"This looks like something of a hobby that they wanted to go out and do, and unfortunately it was just a bad accident," says Sheriff Sims.
Once they arrived on scene the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office and the Kansas Highway Patrol Bomb Squad safely detonated and deposed what was left of the device.
Crews also found a second homemade rocket in a home in Parsons that police say the four planned on launching.
Crews temporarily evacuated and blocked off the one block radius while the fire marshal and bomb squad disposed of the chemicals in the home.
Crews are still investigating the incident as to whether or not any ordinances were broken on where the rocket was fired off.
"City's often have restrictions of what can and can not be fired within the city or whether it's fireworks or different things," says Sheriff Sims. "Counties also have restrictions but it depends on the county and the way in which they're zoned."
Sims says the two chemicals used in the rocket were legal and available over the counter.
Posted July 29, 2013 at 1:27 PM CST: A Southeast Kansas man is taken by helicopter to a Joplin hospital after a homemade rocket launch fails.
The incident happened Sunday on South 23,000 and Queens Road in Labette County, southeast of Parsons.
The sheriff says the launch failure sent the rocket toward bystanders. Stephen Fienen was hit and sustained serious injuries to his leg.
The investigation led to a search of a home where additional chemicals were found.
The Kansas Highway Patrol bomb squad, police and fire crews assisted with taking the chemicals to a safe disposal site in the county.
The investigation is still ongoing.
Authorities say charges could be filed.
NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY LABETTE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE:
On July 28th, 2013 at 12:10 hrs the Labette County Sheriff Department received a report of an individual having been injured by an explosion, occurring south of 23000/Queens Road -- Southeast of Parsons.
Upon responders arriving on scene, it was determined a woman -- 47 years of age/ her son --- 15 year old / her nephew -- 16 years of age/ a man -- 53 years of age had driven to an isolated area southeast of Parsons with the intention of launching a "homemade" rocket.
Upon the rocket being positioned onto the roadway and launched, the rocket unexpectedly veered towards the man, Stephen Fienen, striking him in the leg. As a results, Fienen was seriously injured, Fienen was transported to Labette Health by EMS and then airlifted to KU Medical Center in Kansas City. The woman and boys were not injured during the incident.
An additional device intended to be used as propulsion for another rocket was discovered at the scene. As a result the assistance to the Kansas State Fire Marshall's Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol Bomb Squad was requested. Upon Arrival, the bomb squad safely detonated and deposed the device.
During the investigation it was determined additional chemicals, intended to create additional propulsion devices were located at a residence located at 1430 Broadway in Parsons. Sheriff Units, the Fire Marshall, and the Bomb Squad responded to the residence. With assistance of the Parsons Police and Fire Department, a one block radius was cordoned off. Neighboring residents were requested to vacate their residence as a safety precaution.
Upon assessment by the Bomb Squad, additional resources were requested. Labette county Public works provided a dump truck for transport of the chemicals. Members of the bomb squad drove the truck, escorted by police and fire units, to a location in Labette County, where the chemicals were safely detonated.
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