Teenager loses fingers in fireworks explosion

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An 18-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries after a mortar round exploded in his hand on the 4th of July.

The Newark fireworks suppression task force was on patrol at around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday night when they found a small crowd of people surrounding the victim in the area of Port Sailwood Drive.

Officers found an 18-year-old man with a serious injury to his left hand. He reportedly lost most of his fingers.

Newark police say the victim is expected to survive but won't have use of his left hand and has suffered permanent disfigurement. 

Neighbors used cell phones to capture the frantic moments when first responders arrived. Paramedics used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding before transporting the victim to a nearby hospital, with life-threatening injuries. 

"It looked like he had an 8-ball in his hand, and he came out. and then a few seconds later, we felt like an airwave just shoot us," Jennifer Bains, who witnessed the accident, said. 

The so-called "air-wave" was the concussive force from an illegal mortar firework. 

Witnesses say the victim tried to light one with a short wick, and the mortar exploded inches from his hand.

"You have a family and you could change your whole life," said Javon Chapmon, another witness. 

"We want to prevent things like this from happening. and again, this young man is going to have to live the rest of his life with his injuries," said Capt. Chomnan Loth with Newark Police Department. 

"He has to adapt now to you know being handicapped in a way. So it's real important for kids to know the consequences of playing with illegal fireworks," said Ricardo Myers, a neighbor. 

Capt. Loth said the fireworks patrol task force made six arrests last night and seized two barrels of illegal fireworks in Newark.

Some were mortars similar to the one that cost this 18-year-old victim several fingers, and severely damaged his left hand.