FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Three separate firework accidents in Broward County claimed the lives of two men and left a teenager’s hand maimed.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue responded to two different calls about firework-related injuries at around 10:45 p.m., Thursday.
One of the incidents occurred outside of an apartment complex in the area of Northwest Fifth Street and 30th Avenue.
“People wanting to have fun that wound up losing their fingers, losing their life over fireworks,” said Sandra King with the City of Pompano Beach.
Officials said 36-year-old Tavarese Hamilton was lighting illegal fireworks in the parking lot, placing a mortar shell inside of a PVC pipe. The firework detonated before he was able to move away from the area, causing him to suffer severe shoulder, neck and head injuries.
“It was the loudest sounds I’ve ever heard,” said Angie Goldstein, who heard the explosion. “It was literally like a bomb going off. You hear them but when you’re right here… it was just the loudest thing ever.”
Hamilton was transported to Broward Health North where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Friday evening, family members held a balloon release ceremony outside of the home, hours after loved ones picked up the last remaining fireworks.
“If he was still living, he wouldn’t want you to cry,” said his niece, Kyren Powell. “He would want you to celebrate his life.”
The victim’s brother, Calvin Hamilton, told 7News he was a father to a 2-year-old girl and was about to get married.
“A great guy. He was about to get married,” said Hamilton. “It’s just tragic, I mean, with the family right now. It’s just unexpected this is what happened through fireworks.”
“He’s a loving, kind man. He would help you if you needed help,” said Powell.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue crews also responded to a home in the area of Northeast 17th Terrace and Second Avenue where a 15-year-old teenager had lit a 24-inch Roman candle before it blew up in his hand.
“He lost at least two fingers,” said King.
“I guess the fire[work] blew up in his hand, on his hand, whatnot, so his hand was pretty badly damaged,” added the mother of one of the teen’s friends.
Officials said he was transported to Broward Health Medical Center and lost several fingers. He now faces the possibility of losing his right hand entirely.
A family friend who didn’t want to be identified or show his face on camera said he’s aware this could have had a worse outcome.
“He’s a strong kid. He will bounce back. He will definitely bounce back,” he said. “With our support, everybody’s support, he’ll be all right.”
On Friday morning, Fort Lauderdale Police said a man lost his life on the Fourth of July in their city after what is believed to be a result of a firework explosion along Northwest 13th Street.
Thirty-two-year-old Gevins Caty was pronounced dead at Broward Health Medical Center after succumbing to his injuries.
Officials are awaiting confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office to see how exactly how Caty died.
Broward Fire Rescue officials said they responded to numerous calls over the holiday despite warning residents about the dangers of fireworks.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Tavarese Hamilton’s memorial. Click here for more information.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.