Florida man killed in bonfire explosion at party near DeLand, deputies say

DeLAND, Florida. – A DeLand-area man was killed in an apparent explosion early Monday at an outdoor graduation party with a bonfire, deputies said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Michael D. Riedinger, 51, died around 4 a.m. at a home in the 2900 block of 3rd Yard near DeLand.

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Sheriff’s officials said Riedinger suffered serious injuries that appeared to have been caused by an explosion.

“We made a bonfire and he got close to the fire and something exploded…he’s literally dying. Can you please come here? a woman told a dispatcher of 911 while another person could be heard screaming and crying in the background of the call.

According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses told deputies that Riedinger left the patio to tend to the bonfire around 3:30 a.m.

One of the witnesses said he heard a loud hissing sound for several seconds, officials said. Another witness reported hearing a loud noise, like something hitting the ground, the sheriff’s office said.

When witnesses went to check on Riedinger, they found him lying unresponsive with serious injuries near the fire, sheriff’s officials said.

A woman described the scene in a 911 call, adding that she believes there was an apparent explosion near the fire where the group of adults gathered after a graduation party .

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“He was walking out here by the fire and something exploded, I don’t know,” she told the 911 operator. “We had a graduation party earlier. All the children were gone. The adults were hanging out and I don’t even know (what happened). »

According to the 911 call, Riedinger’s wife, a certified paramedic, was tending to her husband’s injuries while they waited for an ambulance.

“His wife is right next to him. She’s trying to keep him alive,” the woman said.

An initial investigation did not identify any source of the apparent explosion, the sheriff’s office said.

The state fire marshal’s office will investigate the cause of the explosion.

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