LEVITTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Ray Criblear was the neighborhood guy who had the great fireworks show every 4th of July.

They weren’t the kind of full scale size fireworks that blasted over the Art Museum, but still his Levittown neighbors say Criblear could put on a show.

“I wanted to go see Ray’s fireworks show because he’s the top dog around here,” said neighbor Patrick Boyle.

But as Ray was lighting his last firework Monday night, friends say he noticed the three inch mortar he was about to drop into a PVC tube had a short fuse.

“When he went to walk away, it got the whole back side of him,” Boyle said.

Tyler Ellis was right there when the fun night took a terrible turn at around 11 p.m.

“It was the most insane, terrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Ellis said.

Criblear, who was in his 50’s, was killed in front of his longtime girlfriend and dozens of neighbors along Umber Road, including Mary Boyle’s 11-year-old granddaughter.

“She said ‘he got hit by a firework in the face.’ I said what?” Mary Boyle said.

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Neighbors told Eyewitness News that the lesson is clear when it comes to dealing with what has been described as illegal fireworks.

“I’m going to go watch them at the shows, that’s it. No backyard fireworks. Even though he’s done them for years and knew what he was doing, I guess it can just happen to anyone,” Ellis said.

It’s not clear where Criblear bought the fireworks. The accident remains under investigation.

Reported by Todd Quinones, CBS 3

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