Authorities said an initial investigation found that the man was “holding a commercially made mortar firework above his head when the base of the firework ejected downward after being ignited.”
He suffered injuries to his upper body and head. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to D.C. police.
The victim was later identified as Jose Tony Alvarez Umanzor.
D.C. fire officials said in a Twitter post that the type of firework he had is illegal in the District and reminded the public to “leave the fireworks to the professionals. Stay safe.”
The death is the second tragic incident involving fireworks in the past few days in the city.
A 9-year-old boy lost a finger when he and a sibling were playing with fireworks they found inside their apartment, police said Wednesday. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the incident was “something he will have to live with the rest of his life.”
The two youngsters had been left alone at a home in the 4500 block of Third Street SE, a few blocks from Livingston Road SE, in the Bellevue neighborhood.
Police were looking into how the boy got the fireworks, and an adult is facing a charge of first-degree cruelty to children in the incident.
There has been an uptick in the use of fireworks in the D.C. region this year.
Officials in the city have launched a program that involves “go teams” with representatives from the police, the fire department and the mayor’s office to educate the public about fireworks safety.
D.C. Fire Marshal Tony Falwell has said it is not exactly known what is pushing the use of fireworks this summer season. It could be an expression of weeks of quarantine fatigue, a way of showing support for protests against racial injustice or just a display for the Fourth of July holiday, according to officials.