‘I literally thought he was dead’: Couple recounts fireworks tent blowing away

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Brooke Shafer/WINK

Andrew Shimp and his wife, April Mersinger-Shimp, were checking out Tuesday inside a fireworks tent in a parking lot on U.S. 41 when the storm rolled through.

“All of a sudden the wind came through a second time … like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ or something,” Andrew said.

The wind so strong that it lifted the tent —anchored by several 100 pound barrels— and threw it across the Walmart parking lot.

“The wind was blowing this way so when we ran this way the whole tent clammed on top of us and a table landed on him,” April said.

Shimp was knocked out, left bloody and unconscious.

“I ran after him and he wasn’t moving. He was like purple and in a pool of blood,” April said. “I literally thought he was dead.”

April said some good Samaritans and first responders helped bring him back. He was later taken to the hospital.

“There was a sweet couple here that called 911 and checked his pulse and got him conscious,” April said.

Now Shimp’s left with a concussion and a lot of pain.

“I’m afraid of those tents. That was very scary,” Andrew said. “I don’t want to go under those again.”

The attendant got out before the tent got got picked up. Another woman who was also inside the tent was hurt, but she’s expected to be OK.

TNT Fireworks, the company that owns the tent and several others in Southwest Florida would only say they’re investigating the damage and thanked first responders.

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