A Northern Ohio man was seriously injured when a cannon exploded Tuesday evening, April 11, outside a residence in Franklin Township.
Jackson County Sheriff Tedd Frazier reports that Richard P. Franz, 70, of Clinton, Ohio, sustained what were described as "life-threatening" injuries as a result of the incident, which occurred in front of the residence of George Messer at 5555 Franklin Valley Road, Jackson. Franz was taken by Jackson County EMS to Holzer Medical Center-Jackson, but was transferred from there to another hospital, which was not identified. There was no further information available about his condition as of Friday morning.
According to the sheriff's office report, Messer recounted that a group of people were shooting golf balls out of a small cannon when the tragedy occurred. When the first shot was attempted, he said the golf ball only went three feet. When they doubled the amount of the gunpowder for the next shot, the cannon exploded with Franz sustaining a major injury to his lower right leg as well as possible internal injuries.
No other injuries were reported, but the force of the explosion tore the cannon apart and a metal piece from it traveled an estimated 500 to 800 yards and struck the roof of the residence of Mike and Rebecca Evans at 5712 Franklin Valley Road, Jackson.
Mrs. Evans told deputies family members were outside in the yard at the time when they first heard an explosion, then saw an object land in their yard about 15 feet away from where they were standing. Fortunately, there were no injuries and there was no immediate information about damages to the Evans house.
The object turned out to be a piece of metal with jagged edges which weighed about half a pound, according to the report. Deputies were able to compare the piece of metal with the damaged cannon and it was a match.
No charges were immediately filed, but a sheriff's office spokesman indicated the case would most likely be sent to the office of Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Lovett for review.