California Girl Loses Hand in Illegal Fireworks Explosion

California Girl Loses Hand in Illegal Fireworks Explosion
A large assortment of illegal fireworks is displayed on a table in New York, July 3, 2013. The fireworks valued at $1,600 were seized when police arrested two individuals in the Bronx borough of New York who were trying to sell them on Craigslist. (AP Photo/New York Police Department)
Jack Phillips

A 9-year-old girl in Southern California lost her left hand and fingers on her right hand during an explosion caused by illegal fireworks, officials said on Sunday night.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said it dispatched investigators to check "an explosion which led to serious injuries" to the unnamed girl in Compton, California. The incident took place Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

"The explosion, which was likely caused by the use of illegal fireworks or explosives, resulted in the amputation of the girl's left hand. She also lost fingers on her right hand and received blast injuries to her face," the sheriff's department stated.

The girl was taken to a local hospital and she's listed in stable condition. No arrests were made.

"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department would like to remind the public that all fireworks are hazard and can cause injury," the office said. People with information about the incident are encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's arson and explosives division at (323) 881-7500.

Central Park Explosion

The incident took place just a day before an 18-year-old man was severely injured in a likely fireworks-related injury in New York's Central Park on Sunday.

The left foot of Connor Golden, 18, was severely mutilated when he stepped on something while climbing rocks with his friends. Investigators told NBC News they don't believe the explosion was a terrorist act.

"There are no specific or credible threats directed at New York or the July Fourth celebrations," said Inspector John O'Connell, the chief of the NYPD's counterterrorism unit.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said there are about 230 fireworks-related injuries around the 4th of July every year. More than 50 percent of the injuries are burns, it said. Men between the ages of 25 and 44 are the most commonly injured.

Firework Safety

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
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