Firework victim remembered as outdoorsman, friend |

Firework victim remembered as outdoorsman, friend

J.K. Perry
Special to the DailyBrett Guthrie, 37, died Thursday when the firework he was setting off backfired.

VAIL – Suszanne Mueller mourned the loss of her 37-year-old son Brett Guthrie to a firework injury over eggs, ham and photos of her lost child at her Vail home on Saturday morning.”I’m hollow,” she said.Family and friends consoled one another at Mueller’s home two days after Guthrie died from a ruptured aorta he suffered when a mortar-like firework backfired against his chest.”He was holding it on his chest and when it got lit, it didn’t go out of the tube, it went in and the concussion severed his aorta,” Mueller said.Guthrie, an avid firework enthusiast, was hanging out with friends at his Brett Ranch home in Edwards on Thursday when the accident occurred.

“They just decided to shoot some fireworks off the deck and had this accident,” uncle Jerry Sibley said. “It’s an absolute tragedy.”The impact knocked the wind out of his lungs and against the wall where he slid to the floor, quietly saying some words his friends couldn’t hear, Mueller said.He never regained consciousness.At Vail Valley Medical Center, emergency personnel allowed Mueller to touch her son’s hand and kiss his forehead as he was rolled past into surgery. Emergency personnel tried to stop the bleeding, but Guthrie died later that evening at the hospital.Mueller said she is thankful for the emergency personnel who tried to save Guthrie’s life.

Services for Guthrie will be held Tuesday at noon in Eagle River Presbyterian Church, 455 Nottingham Ranch Rd.Guthrie grew up in Minturn, Gilman and California. He attended Redwood High School along with good friend Ryan Willson, who was at the Mueller’s Saturday morning.Friends were an important part of his life, family said.”He was just a fun person,” Willson said. “He was about living life to the fullest – he lived life large.”Family and friends said Guthrie was an avid outdoorsman. He hunted, water skied, fished and had just begun reacquainting himself with skiing on Vail Mountain. His favorite runs were Dealers Choice and Lost Boy.

Guthrie performed various jobs, including plumbing for his stepfather Wolf Mueller and also Sibley. Family members called him “handy.” The Mueller’s sink was installed by Guthrie. Suszanne Mueller said each time she touches the sink she will remember her son.”He was a joyous soul,” Suszanne Mueller said. “He was very outgoing and loved to play jokes.”Guthrie is survived by his mother, stepfather, father Alex I. Guthrie, brother Alex Scott Guthrie, sister Jessica Guthrie, sister Megan Casey and brother-in-law Sean Casey.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

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