Witness speaks out after teen dies after fireworks explosion

Monday, July 8, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRWD/WAGT) -- 14-year-old Brantley Griffin suffered a head injury after jumping into the water when fireworks started going off all at once on the dock and not in the air. Fireworks are something neighbors have done there for years.

News 12 talked to one man who brings his family there every year and he saw everything that happened.

Every year, the fireworks show at the lake near Sankin Road is a huge deal.

"I was sitting with my family on the top of the dock and they were setting off some really nice fireworks. One after the other, pretty fast," said Peter Horeysek.

Peter Horeyseck and his family set up camp across the lake for the show when he says he saw an explosion. The entire display went off on the roof of their neighbor's dock with everyone on it.

"And then it just all broke loose, I mean they all went off. One after the other. And we just saw people trying to get away, jumping into the water," said Horeysek.

Columbia County investigators say they believe either a firework malfunctioned or a spark set the others off.

"It was really scary because it was really loud. All these big fireworks, you know the big things you see, the star shells that go off in the sky and everything, those were going off on the roof of their dock," said Horeysek.

One after another, people jumped off the dock into the water but Peter says it was dark and all he could hear were people asking, where's Brantley? He and his wife got on their boat with a spotlight to help look.

"I got out of the boat and went into the water. There were other people there that were diving down trying to find him and I was one of them," said Horeysek.

Family, friends, and neighbors pulled 14-year-old Brantley Griffin out of the water. Peter says as they were performing CPR as the fireworks continued to go off.

Today, the lake is quiet as friends and family mourn the loss of Brantley. Friends say Brantley was a sweet, energetic and kind boy. He loved to play football and they'll miss him very much.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.