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Community mourns, celebrates a year after fatal fireworks accident

A permanent memorial -- for play and prayer -- was dedicated Sunday to the four people killed in a fireworks explosion last year on Ocracoke Island.

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. — A year after the explosion of a truck packed with fireworks rocked Ocracoke Island, the community spent a day remembering the lives lost in the blast.

Four members of a crew preparing the island's 2009 fireworks show – Terry Holland, 49, Mark Hill, 21, Charles Kirkland Jr., 49, and Lisa Simmons, 41 – died when their truck blew up.

The four were members of The Lord's Table Church in Goldsboro where a permanent memorial – for play and prayer – was dedicated Sunday. It will be named in honor of Holland, who did maintenance for the church.

"He always went the extra mile when it came to helping somebody out and serving somebody," said Pastor Bill Wilson.

The family of Lisa Simmons, including her 9-year-old son, attending Sunday's dedication.

"I think it's awesome," A.J. Simmons said. "It reminds me of my mom and the other people who were in the accident."

"Lisa would be very happy to see this, because she just loved children," said her sister, Nancy Brake.

The park is a place for fun and for quiet remembrance, Wilson said.

He misses his mom but is happy there's a place he can play in her memory.

"It's the best park that I ever went to," A.J. Simmons said.

Statewide, legislators hope to prevent future deaths by requiring that anyone using pyrotechnics for a public show complete a training course and receive an operators' license. Temporary permits can be issued for people who have worked on at least six fireworks shows before.

So far, the state has issued more than 400 permits this year.

Ocracoke Island decided not to hold a fireworks display this year.