A homemade “sparkler bomb” cost a Texas teenager one of his legs and possibly an eye after a fireworks stunt went afoul. A second teen sustained less serious eye injuries from the incident.
Rowdy Radford, a 15-year-old boy from Sargent, Texas, is in grave condition at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital after his 4th of July celebration went horribly wrong. The boy and his friend taped nearly two hundred sparklers together and lit them, KHOU CBS11 in Houston reported.
When Radford lit the “sparkler bomb,” the device exploded in his face. The explosion left a four-foot hole in the ground according to his family members. Radford’s left leg was amputated below the knee and his hands, face, and chest were severely burned. Metal shards from the burning sparklers entered his eye. Doctors say they will not know if he has lost his vision in that eye until he wakes up.
The second teenager also received eye injuries from the blast which occurred at Rowdy’s aunt’s home in Matagorda County, about seventy-five miles south of Houston.
Rowdy’s aunt, Samantha Hansen, told KHOU that as soon as he lit the device, it exploded. “He didn’t even have a chance to run.” She said he has been “known for making his booms and he makes his booms by scaring everybody.”
His mother, Wendy Smith, told KHOU’s Kevin Reece that he does this every year. “[W]e didn’t know this was going to be a big one,” she said.
“It’s really hard to see your baby go through all this. I just want the parents to know don’t let your kids play with fireworks, it’s not worth it. It really ain’t,” his mom told Reece. “It hurts because I want to see my kid talk to me and he’s not because he can’t. It’s really rough.”
Reece reported that YouTube video clips show teens all over the country making similar devices. As many as 1,000 sparklers have been strapped together making an explosion large enough to blow up a car.
The family is not sure if Radford will recover from his injuries, the Houston CBS affiliate reported. “If you knew Rowdy and how wonderful a child he was, you wouldn’t want nobody to go through this,” his aunt told Reece. “Protect your children anything can happen.”
The family has been attacked on social media prompting one Facebook user to issue a sympathetic response supporting the family.