Young Newark man suffers horrific injuries in fireworks accident

NEWARK, Calif. (KGO) -- A young East Bay man is facing the loss of several fingers after trying to light a mortar-type firework on the Fourth of July. Newark police are investigating the circumstances that led to the horrific accident.

This was not one of the safe and sane fireworks the city allows. Safe and sane fireworks do not explode or go up in the air. Neighbors say the fireworks set off Tuesday night did both of those. You can still see char marks on the street and blood nearby.

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Neighbors say illegal fireworks made the community sound like a war zone on Tuesday night.

Dante Bains watched the street show. "It was almost done, all the fireworks were pretty much lit off, the kids were getting ready to go to bed and then we just heard a loud boom, just the loudest one of the night," he said. Bains didn't just hear, he actually felt that blast.

"My back was turned right here and then it was so loud that we all felt what felt like a blast of air. It was that powerful, everything shook and that was it," he said.

A Snapchat video shows the aftermath of that explosion. Newark police say the 18-year-old man tried to light a mortar-type firework in a canister but the fuse was too short.

He suffered horrific injuries. "It was unusually calm actually, no one was screaming or running around they were just trying to comfort him. They put a tourniquet on his arm using a belt, wrapped his hand in some towels," Bains said.
Bains tried to keep neighbors from crowding too closely. "I believe he was in shock. He kept saying, what did I do, what did I do, something along those lines," he said.

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The young man was transported to Eden Hospital. Police say he's likely to lose fingers on his left hand. Bains also saw cuts on his right hand and burns covering his stomach.

"It was a sad way to end the night. That was a good day," Bains said.

Fire officials say that the man's injuries were life-threatening. So this is just one more reminder to leave fireworks to the experts.

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