Fort Lauderdale man hospitalized after suffering fireworks-related hand injury

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Rescue crews took a man to the hospital after, officials said, he suffered a fireworks-related hand injury in Fort Lauderdale, Monday afternoon.

According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, the mishap took place along the 1300 block of Northwest 11th Place. Officials received the call about the incident at around 4:20 p.m.

A neighbor said he heard the firework go off, followed by screams from the lawn of a nearby home.

The neighbor said the victim, a man in his 30s, blew up his hand, and he described the injury as very bad. “I go over there. I see the blood trail. I see a piece of ligament on the sidewalk,” said John Reed. “It is grotesque. It’s harsh.”

Reed said the victim’s hand broke in several places. “His thumb was split open … there’s no meat, no bones or anything on the inside,” he said. “[The index and middle] fingers are split open as well, but they’re dropped, so it’s like a piece of meat dangling from a butcher.”

7News cameras captured the casing of a blown-up mortar lying on the grass. It remains unclear whether this was the firework behind the mishap.

There were other people inside the home at the time of the incident who ran out and tried to help the victim.

Paramedics transported the man to the trauma facility at Broward Health Medical Center.

Firefighters and paramedics find themselves dealing with similar injuries every year before and during the Fourth of July weekend.

Elliott Andrews was also injured by a firework.

“I was just having fun, and before I could just think of it, it exploded on me,” Andrews said.

Andrews said he was setting off fireworks known as onions, last Tuesday, when one exploded in his hand. “I lost my pointer finger, I lost my thumb. One of my friend’s girls picked up the thumb and put it on ice,” he said.

Andrews is not alone.

Last Wednesday, a Plantation man suffered a hand injury while handling a firework.

In 2015, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul mangled his right hand in Coral Springs when a device exploded. He lost an index finger and part of his thumb, and was required to have reconstructive surgery to save his middle finger.

“Even to the trained professionals, let them handle that,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles. “When it comes to fireworks, safe and sane fireworks don’t exist.”

Back in the neighborhood where the Fort Lauderdale man hurt his hand, neighbors were shocked by the severity of the injuries. “You see what happens to an adult. You can imagine what could happen to a little kid,” said Efrain Lopez.

Even sparklers, the only legal firework, can be dangerous because they can get as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now a Fort Lauderdale man is dealing with what could be a life-changing injury. “He’s got to be more careful, especially around children,” said neighbor Nefty DeLeon. “Children see that, they think it’s cool. It’s fun, yeah, it’s a lot of fun, but they’ll get hurt, even possibly get killed. You never know.”

“I know it’s, like, the Fourth of July and whatnot but use caution,” said Reed.

Fort Lauderdale’s fire marshal took the opportunity to remind residents that if a firework flies in the air and explodes, it’s likely illegal.

Andrews agreed with officials and said, “Be safe about the situation.”

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,000 people were injured by fireworks in 2016. Four of these victims died from their injuries.

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