Residents, visitors reacted
with dignity and
professionalism after
Ocracoke explosion

Published 6:27 am Friday, July 10, 2009

By Staff
It was anticipated that the community on Ocracoke Island would pay tribute to the victims of a July 4 fireworks explosion, and by all accounts they have carried themselves with dignity and grace.
The sole survivor of the explosion — Martez Holland, of Goldsboro — is recovering in the burn unit of N.C. Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill.
He and fellow employees of South Carolina-based Melrose South Pyrotechnics were unloading fireworks for the island’s Fourth of July celebration when the explosion occurred. Killed in the incident were Holland’s uncle, Terry Holland, and other Goldsboro residents Lisa Simmons, Mark Hill and Charles Kirkland Jr.
The Lord’s Table, the Goldsboro church several of the victims attended, and the Ocracoke Fire Department have established memorial funds to support the victims’ survivors.
We salute both organizations for their thoughtfulness.
Our appreciation also extends to the Ocracoke EMS team and local Ocracoke residents and tourists who helped at the scene of the explosion. According to Ocracoke Fire Chief Albert O’Neal, from 20 to 25 people showed up to help after the explosion.
That included doctors and nurses who were on vacation, O’Neal said.
In another tribute to the victims, the island community postponed its traditional Independence Day parade until Sunday and revamped it as a silent memorial to the victims.
It’s one thing to know how one should react in a tragedy, but still another to carry it out. Ocracoke officials, residents and visitors showed their compassion and competence during and after the explosion, and they are to be commended.