BENTON HARBOR (WWJ) – Authorities say a 14-year-old Michigan boy had his hand blown off by a homemade firework device that exploded.
The incident happened Tuesday afternoon as the teen was playing with a 12-year-old boy in Benton Harbor.
Police received a call about a fireworks-related injury and arrived on the scene to find the older boy missing his left hand and the younger boy with minor injuries to his face. Both were rushed to a local hospital.
Neighbors told reporters they heard an explosion and ran to the boys’ aid. One woman said the teen’s thumb “was the only thing still hanging,” and people were “looking for the rest of his fingers.”
Police described the device as a homemade firework about the size of a golf ball, wrapped in tin foil. It wasn’t immediately clear if the boys made the device themselves or if they obtained it elsewhere.
It’s the second fireworks accident in just three days in Michigan. On Sunday, a 47-year-old Walled Lake man was killed when a large mortar fireworks shell he was holding next to his head exploded. The accident happened in front of the man’s family. Police say alcohol was a factor, and the man might not have realized the firework was lit.
Authorities stress that playing with fireworks is extremely dangerous. Any use of fireworks must be in accordance with the instructions, and under strict adult supervision, police said.