DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. - A 14-year-old boy sustained severe hand injuries after fireworks he was handling exploded late Tuesday night, officials said.
Prince George’s County police said firefighters and medics responded to a 911 call in the 1800 block of Addison Road South in District Heights just after 10:30 p.m.
The injured teen was transported to a trauma center for treatment. FOX 5 has been told the explosion was so intense that the child could potentially lose some fingers.
“It seemed like point blank contact on his hand,” said Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Assistant Chief Alan Doubleday. “He had significant trauma to his hand.”
“I just heard like a big boom and then I heard somebody just scream like Bloody Mary, and then I ran outside and there was a whole bunch of commotion,” said neighbor Dorothea Webb.
“It was a lot of police when I pulled up, a couple of ambulances,” said Lakeisha Cole. “There was blood down there on the sidewalk a little ways and there were a lot of people upset because they didn't actually know what was going on. They said someone threw the firework. Other people said that the guy just lit it in his hand.”
Officials said they have not pressed charges at this time.
“The office of the Fire Marshal for the Prince George's County Fire and EMS Department is actively investigating the incident, which can also be a police investigation as well because of the fact that fireworks are illegal in Prince George's County," said Doubleday.
More than a dozen illegal fireworks were dropped off less than two miles away from where the accident happened in District Heights. Investigators said these fireworks are more like explosives and they are trying to determine if they are related to this incident.
Consumer purchased fireworks are illegal in Prince George’s County. Penalties for violations of the fireworks law include up to a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail.
"Our primary concern is for the health of this young man and his hand injuries,” Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale said. “However, we cannot look the other way when a law designed to prevent this type of life-changing injury is violated.”