Police investigating accident, autopsy scheduled
By Erik Buchinger
Alyssa Chmielewski, a 4-year-old Clintonville girl, was killed in a fireworks accident Monday night.
Clintonville police were notified of a loud explosion in the area of Wilson Street just before 10:30 p.m. Monday, July 10.
An ambulance was dispatched to a residence on Hughes Street, which was in the area of the reported explosion.
Clintonville police officers arrived at the scene and learned that a 4-year-old girl had been severely injured in the explosion.
Clintonville police learned that the victim’s father, a 42-year-old Clintonville man whose name has not released, had configured an array of “sparkler type” fireworks in a metal tube.
After lighting this configuration, it exploded, causing severe injuries to the child’s neck and upper chest.
As a result of these injuries, she died at the residence.
Clintonville Police Chief James Beggs said the child was about 10-12 feet away from the fireworks when they exploded. The father was uninjured.
Beggs said there were people inside the residence, but the man and his daughter are believed to be the only people outside during the explosion.
According to Beggs, the tube used to place the fireworks in was 3/4-inch in diameter.
The investigation is ongoing. An autopsy is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday by the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office. Beggs said he is not sure when the autopsy results will be completed.
Beggs said the decision of whether or not to file charges will wait until all the results are finalized.
“We’ve been in contact with district attorney at Waupaca County, and we will make the appropriate decision when we have all that information,” Beggs said.
The Clintonville police were assisted at the scene by the Clintonville Area Ambulance Service, Marion Police Department, ThedaStar, the Waupaca County Coroner’s Office and the Clintonville Fire Department.
Beggs said manipulating fireworks carries a big risk.
“Obviously, there are specific ways in which fireworks or sparklers are to be used and what they’re designed to do,” Beggs said. “When you start manipulating them with your own design or idea, you’re taking a big risk. Obviously, we saw the results of that last night.”