Waianae man blows off fingers in fireworks incident

By Kenny Choi
Published On: Jan 02 2014 06:16:00 AM HST

A Waianae man blows his thumb and pinkie off in a fireworks incident on New Year's Eve.

HONOLULU -

One Waianae family is hoping the new year will bring more awareness to the dangers of fireworks after a night gone wrong cost one man part of his hand.

Click here to watch Kenny Choi's report.

It can look beautiful in the night sky, but it can also be devastating when things go wrong.

"I saw a white flash.  And then it was gone out of his hand," said grandmother Luka Ramos.  "And then, of course, he was stunned because of the impact.  So I ran!"

Ramos saw her grandson, Shadrach Ramos-Diaz, holding an aerial firework in his hand and tried to warn him, but it was too late.

"I screamed.  I ran out the lanai to him.  Everyone around had no idea what was going on," said Ramos.  "Then they look and I'm screaming at everyone because I see his mangled hands.  Mangled.  Blood gushing.  It's mangled."

Firecrackers are legal on select holidays if permits are purchased.  But, aerial fireworks that light up the skies are illegal unless they're part of a professional fireworks show.

"Let's figure out a way to work within the community to really put an end to the illegal ones.  They're the ones that are the most dangerous.  They're larger in composition.  The impact of them is much more severe," said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig.

The Honolulu Fire Department had 284 calls on New Year's Eve, down from more than 300 in the previous year.  Out of all the fire emergencies, about one third were because of fireworks.

For Ramos, seeing her grandson lose his pinkie, and possibly his thumb, it's a tough lesson they hope others will learn from.

"No one ever thinks, it's not gonna happen to you.  But, devastation is really bad.  We're living it now and what a way to bring in the new year," said Ramos.

Ramos hopes lawmakers will consider a ban on all fireworks in the new year.  She says her grandson underwent extensive surgery on his right hand to reattach his thumb.  They're not sure if he'll have full use of it.

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