Teen blows off fingers, mangles leg and may be blinded from homemade 'sparkler bomb'
A Texas teen has lost fingers, his leg below the knee and might lose his sight after a Fourth of July weekend fireworks mishap, one of many such horrific instances across America in recent days.
According to his family, Rowdy Radford was celebrating Independence Day the way he has for several years: by lashing together dozens of sparklers into a 'sparkler bomb' that he uses to wow friends and family.
But on Saturday, the awe gave way to shock when a misstep somewhere in the process put the 15-year-old from Sargent in a hospital bed.
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On a GoFundMe page created to help cover the teen's medical expenses, a family friend says Rowdy has a 50 percent chance of losing his vision, has had his fingers reattached and will require further surgeries on his arms.
"Please help this wonderful family with everything they are going through and will continue to go through for the rest of their lives. No parents should have to be sitting in the hospital going through this," wrote Lorin Haefs Meadows.
Rowdy's mother, Wendy Smith, has tearfully addressed the media in the wake of her son's accident and pleaded with them not to make his same mistake.
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Smith told KTRK her son purchased $40 worth of sparklers then bound them all together using electrical tape.
Typically, Rowdy uses one sparkler as a fuse to light the rest in one massive boom. This time, something went wrong and the teen was too close to the explosion.
According to witnesses, the blast left a 4-foot hole in the ground. A search for "sparkler bomb" on YouTube returns dozens of results that match Smith's description of what her son made.
Rowdy was airlifted to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he remains under sedation on Monday.
Rowdy's horrific accident was one of many nationwide that are attributed to fireworks in recent days.
Also on Saturday, a 9-year-old girl in Compton, California lost her left hand and fingers on her right hand in an explosion that was likely caused by the use of illegal fireworks. according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.
In Nebraska, 31-year-old man's hand was reportedly blown off and hurled 90 feet through the air.