Family says infant is 'traumatized' from Uvalde fireworks accident

Family says infant is 'traumatized' from Uvalde fireworks accident

Credit: KENS 5

Fireworks photo courtesy of Nora T Martinez.

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by Dillon Collier / KENS 5

kvue.com

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 9:41 AM

UVALDE, Texas -- Seven weeks after a mortar exploded during a Fourth of July celebration in Uvalde, a father and his infant daughter continue their long road to recovery.

Steven Muniz, 32, and his now 6-month-old daughter, Anasti, were seriously injured after the mortar exploded a few feet from the family's minivan.

Muniz was leaning into the van feeding Anasti when the explosion happened.

"I grabbed her and we took off running and I gave her to my wife," said Muniz, who suffered second-degree burns to his neck and body.

A 20 second clip of the accident posted to social media sites showed several spectators running from the explosion.

"That's where they told us to park. That's where the firefighters told us to park, so we thought it was safe. Apparently it wasn't," said Erica Verdusco-Muniz, the worried wife and mother.

The couple married on June 29, the day Anasti turned 5 months old.

"I sustained my injuries, but I was concerned for my daughter's wellbeing. It's tough. The only thing on my mind was my daughter," said Muniz, who was driven by ambulance to San Antonio Military Medical Center.

The child was airlifted to University Hospital and has had numerous follow-up appointments for burns on her face, arms, stomach and legs.

"She wakes up crying and screaming in the middle of the night. She's never done that. She's traumatized," Erica said.

The family's van, which was torched during the accident, is still in the repair shop.

Unable to return to his job as a forklift driver outside of Austin, Muniz was laid off.

"Hopefully we can eventually get back to normal. I keep saying that day after day. I want my old life back," Verdusco-Muniz said.

Citing no fatalities, the state fire marshal's office permitted Uvalde Fire Marshal Juan Hernandez to handle the investigation, even though Uvalde's Volunteer Fire Department co-hosted the event.

Hernandez concluded the incident was an accident and added the fireworks organizer had the proper license and liability insurance through the Scottsdale Insurance Company.

However, Hernandez said spectators will most likely be moved back for future fireworks shows.

"But again, you can plan for the worst but you never know," said Hernandez, who handles investigations for both Uvalde and Uvalde County.

The family hired Houston attorney Vuk Vujasinovic of V&B Attorneys.

"What stood out to me is no one has done a proper investigation," Vujasinovic said.

The Muniz family has filed suit in Uvalde County against the Scottsdale Insurance Company.

"We want to find out what happened and why and hopefully prevent something like this from happening again," Vujasinovic said.

A spokeswoman for Scottsdale Insurance declined to comment when reached on the phone Tuesday, citing the ongoing litigation.

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