LEECHBURG (KDKA) — Weeks after he was nearly killed when a firework exploded in his hand, Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold is out of the hospital and celebrating life in a big way.

Wednesday night, the chief and his longtime girlfriend went from being sweethearts to newlyweds.

As the bride-to-be, Danielle Reinke, walked down the aisle, Diebold said “I can’t believe this woman is marrying me; must have done something right.”

The evening ceremony was held near the Kiski River, by the Leechburg Fire Dept.

It was on June 24 when Diebold lost a hand and part of his arm, during the Leechburg Firefighters carnival.

Danielle said, “Running through my mind is sheer happiness; there’s no words to describe it, I’ve never been this happy.”

Diebold was released from the hospital last Thursday, and has started on the long road to recovery, as a married man.

Leechburg Mayor Shawn Lerch officiated at the ceremony with about 200 relatives, friends and well wishers in attendance.

Also at the wedding, the couple’s 12-week old son, Kyle, who appeared to be sleeping through most of the ceremony.

Concluding the brief ceremony, Lerch said “by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Diebold told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti “I don’t like to show it, and these aren’t tears of sadness, I’m just overwhelmed with tears of joy to be here.”

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His new bride said “July is a special month for us, one July we fell in love, another July we conceived our son, now, this July, we said, you know, we’re going to get married in July.”

Prior to the outdoor wedding, nine keys to the Borough of Leechburg were given to firefighters and others who were there that night to help Diebold immediately after the accident.

A 10th key will be given to a nurse at UPMC Mercy Hospital, who Diebold said “took really good care of me.”

Ralph Iannotti