A Herndon man who was blinded while helping with a July Fourth fireworks display two years ago has filed suit against the town and the manufacturer, seeking $200,000 in damages.
The suit, filed July 2 in Fairfax County Circuit Court, names both the Town of Herndon, which put on the fireworks display at Herndon High School, and Zambelli Internationale Corp., the maker of the pyrotechnics.
According to the lawsuit, Frank A. Gantt Sr., 56, was injured when the fireworks exploded about 9 p.m. July 4, 1983 in an "untimely manner." Among other charges, the suit claims that Herndon employes failed to properly store and prepare the fireworks, to properly respond to weather conditions and to provide proper instruction.
"He's considered legally blind," Bobbie Gantt said yesterday of her husband, who lost his right eye in the accident.
The lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial and a $200,000 judgment against the defendants, charges that Zambelli did not provide adequate warning about the danger of the fireworks and inadequately packaged its product.
George Raymond Zambelli, reached in New Castle, Pa., where the company is based, said he was not aware of the lawsuit. The Zambelli company is also in charge of the fireworks that will be used on the Mall today.
A spokesman for the Herndon parks and recreation department had no comment on the suit yesterday.
Bobbie Gantt, 32, would not elaborate on the injuries sustained by her her husband, who is employed by Fairfax County. She said she would like to lobby to make the use of fireworks illegal.
"I just wish more people understood the dangers of fireworks," she said, adding that she won't allow her children "even to have sparklers."