Local News

Fireworks will never be the same for explosion victim's sister

Posted July 4, 2011 6:19 a.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2011 9:12 a.m. EDT

— Most people enjoy Fourth of July fireworks for the colors and patterns they spread across the sky, but for Nancy Brake, those bright, brilliant lights will never look the same.

"I never watch a fireworks display the same way. I never will," she said.

Brake's sister, Lisa Simmons, was part of a crew preparing a fireworks show on Ocracoke Island in 2009 when a truck carrying the pyrotechnics exploded, killing Simmons and three other people. A fifth person was injured.

Simmons, 41, Terry Holland, 49, Mark Hill, 21, and Charles Kirkland Jr., 49, were all members of the The Lord's Table Church in Goldsboro where a permanent memorial was dedicated in their memory last year.

Brake says her sister had such a deep appreciation for the sights and sounds of Independence Day that she became certified to set up public fireworks displays. The Fourth was also their family's favorite holiday of the year.

"We always made a big deal about going to the fireworks growing up," Brake said.

A year before the accident, Brake says she remembers talking with her sister about fireworks.

"She was all excited about some pictures she was showing me on her camera, and she was telling me all the technical terms for everything," Brake said.

Brake says she still watches fireworks displays on the Fourth, because that's how her sister would have wanted it. Simmons would have turned 44 next week. She left behind a son who is 9.