10-year-old boy in OC loses 3 fingers after firework explodes in hand; brother also injured

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Thursday, July 11, 2024 8:10AM
10-year-old boy in OC loses 3 fingers after firework explodes in hand
A horrific accident involving an illegal firework found on an Orange County street injured two young boys, one of whom lost three fingers. Now, as the brothers recover, authorities are issuing a strong warning.

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- A horrific accident involving an illegal firework found on an Orange County street injured two young boys, one of whom lost three fingers. Now, as the brothers recover, authorities are issuing a strong warning.

A walk home turns tragic

Edther Ocampo, 10, and his brother Dominic Ocampo, 11, were walking home from soccer practice Friday when they found an unused firework on the ground.

Out of curiosity, they picked it up and brought it home.

When they lit the firework, Edther was still holding on to it. It exploded in his hand, causing him to lose three fingers. According to his family, he also suffered severe burns to his body, internal abdominal bleeding and deep cuts to his face.

The young soccer player is now in the ICU.

"As a mom, I don't want to see him in any pain, and I don't want to add to his pain, so him seeing me like this ... it would be more harder for him," said Edther's mother, Cynthia Garcia-Huertas. "I'm trying to pray really strong with him. It breaks my heart, really, to see him."

Meanwhile, Dominic also suffered severe injuries and is recovering at home.

Dangers of illegal fireworks

The Orange County Sheriff's Department said the boys came across an unused aerial shell, a dangerous explosive commonly used in skyrockets that launch into the air.

They apparently found the shell near train tracks, but an exact location is unknown. Authorities said people will remove the aerial shell from the tip of the skyrocket and light the exposed fuse while holding it in their hand.

The exposed fuse, known as a "quick match," is a flash powder composition fuse, which essentially burns its fuse length instantaneously. The fuse then initiates about 50 grams of flash powder contained in the shell and explodes violently.

"Our hearts go out to both boys and their families as they navigate what we can only imagine are very difficult recoveries," said the sheriff's department in a statement. "We also want to remind our community about the dangers of these types of illegal fireworks. They can cause devastating injuries. If ever anyone in the community finds anything resembling an illegal firework or possible explosive, we ask them to call us immediately so our [Hazardous Devices Section] can safely handle and dispose of the explosive."

Meanwhile, Garcia-Huertas is hoping Edther pushes through during this difficult time.

"He's like a ray of sunshine. He has that personality that everybody likes him, like that charisma," she said. "He's just a happy 10-year-old child, like, enjoying life, enjoying his passion, playing soccer."

She hopes her son will eventually get back on the field to do what he loves.

"That's a major setback, heartbreaking part for him," she said about Edther's soccer journey. "It''s been hard because he understands he's in it, he just doesn't understand the severity because his arms are bandaged, so he hasn't been able to cope with that."

Edther still has to undergo several more surgeries but he's expected to be ok. Meanwhile, the family has created a GoFundMe to help with medical bills.