Samantha Dean, the AM Pyrotechnics employee who was injured in an explosion and fire at the fireworks wholesale retail and manufacturing facility last week, died Tuesday morning.
Just a week after first responders said Dean, 28, received serious injuries with burns to 90 percent of her body, Dean’s mother, Tracy Livingston, posted at around 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 10, on the “Samantha’s Road to Recovery” Facebook page that her daughter succumbed to her injuries.
Polk County Coroner Melissa Britton confirmed Dean’s death Tuesday morning.
Britton said Dean is survived by a 9-month-old son.
Dean, who was trapped inside the building, was life-flighted from the scene of the fire at 2429 E. 535th Road, north of Tin Town, at around 8:15 p.m.
According to posts by Livingston on the “Samantha’s Road to Recovery” page, Dean had been in a medically induced coma and had undergone at least one surgery.
The initial explosion, which Pleasant Hope Fire Protection District Capt. Greg Wood said was heard for miles away, occurred at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. He said it sounded like thunder and created a large smoke plume.
Explosions were ongoing for at least a half hour following the initial blast.
Multiple area departments, including Pleasant Hope, Halfway, Southern Dallas County, Strafford, Ebenezer, Morrisville, Prairie Grove, Fair Grove, Bolivar and Central Polk County, and around 90 firefighters fought the blaze. The Pleasant Hope Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office and Missouri State Highway Patrol were on also scene.
Wood said the building was a total loss.
John Ham, public information officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Kansas City field office, confirmed Dean’s death and said the investigation is ongoing.
He called the incident a “tragic accident,” but said there is still no criminal investigation at this point.
“But, we’re still working to determine the cause,” Ham said. “That’s what everyone is waiting for, but it takes time.”
Ham said the investigation will move forward despite Dean’s death.
“Probably the biggest impact on the investigation is that we will come up with a working theory of what we believe happened,” Ham said. “But the victim was the only person who knows exactly what was occurring when the explosion happened. We’ll never be able to talk to her about that. But that’s not a hurdle we can’t overcome in the investigation.”