SWISHER — A woman and her newborn child were injured by an exploding firework Saturday night.
According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to 1455 Curtis Bridge Road NE in Swisher at 9:50 p.m. for a report of two people injured by fireworks. Authorities said 36-year-old Margaret Limkemann, of Cedar Rapids, was holding her one-month-old daughter, Aria, and were injured when a firework launched sideways instead of upward and hit Margaret.
Limkemann attempted to remove her daughter before the firework exploded, authorities said. Limkemann and her daughter were taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals to be treated for their injuries.
According to a gofundme page established for the victims, Margaret suffered “severe trauma” to both legs, which will require multiple surgeries. Aria suffered a broken femur, multiple fractures and burns, the gofundme page states.
Authorities said Limkemann and her daughter were attending a party hosted by Richard Fowler, who owns the property at 1455 Curtis Bridge Road. Fowler was cited for failure to have a firework permit.
Violating Johnson County’s fireworks permit ordinance results in a simple misdemeanor, according to a brochure on the county’s fireworks page. The penalty for a simple misdemeanor under Iowa Code is a fine between $65 and $625 and a maximum of 30 days in jail instead of or in addition to the fine.
Fowler told The Gazette Monday that he did not wish to comment.
Brittany Bornstein, a Cedar Rapids native and family friend of Limkemann and her husband’s, said she believes the firework, one of a 16-cannon fireworks box, that harmed Limkemann was defective. Bornstein said the firework was placed a flat car trailer because the packaging label said it could harm someone if placed on uneven ground.
Bornstein said the fireworks are an annual family event the incident happened about 15 minutes into the show at her grandfather’s, who is Fowler, property. She said the family was sitting at least 50 yards from the fireworks.
“It just happened so fast. Maggie had nothing to do,” Bornstein said.
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In all, Limkemann would need four surgeries, Bornstein said, and was transported by ambulance to the hospital. She said the baby was airlifted to the hospital but her father and Limkemann’s husband, Travis, got to hold the baby for the first time Monday.
“It’s going to be a really long road to recovery but they are progressing,” Bornstein said.
Bornstein called Limkemann a “wonderful mom.” She said before the fireworks show, Limkemann had taken her daughters to a Fourth of July parade.
“Since they’re out of school, there’s not a day that Maggie’s not doing crafts with them. She’s taking to them to the library Bornstein said. “Her kids mean the world to her.”
Bornstein started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the family’s medical bills, which has raised more than $5,700 as of Monday afternoon.
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