Man, 29, injured in fireworks accident

Police think device may have been illegal

January 02, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A 29-year-old Anne Arundel County man severely injured his left hand and left thigh late Monday when he ignited a fireworks device believed to be as powerful as a quarter stick of dynamite, county fire officials said yesterday.

Thomas Margarito of the 1400 block of Snug Harbor Road in Shady Side arrived at the Avalon Shores fire station, near his house, about 10:40 p.m. with his hand wrapped in a towel, said Lt. Frank Fennell, a fire department spokesman.

Friends had driven Margarito to the station, where he was treated before being flown to the Raymond Curtis Hand Center at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Fennell said. A spokeswoman at the center said yesterday that no information was available on the treatment of Margarito's hand or his condition.

Margarito speaks no English, and his friends were able to convey only that before the device exploded, Margarito thought he had been holding a candle, Fennell said. Margarito and his friends appeared to be intoxicated, Fennell said.

The accident injured Margarito's left palm and left his index finger "bare down to the bone," Fennell said. The explosion also left a dime-size hole in his left thigh, Fennell said.

Fire officials investigating the incident think the object might have been some kind of illegal fireworks. Fennel said Margarito's injuries were consistent with what could happen in the explosion of a quarter stick of dynamite.

Maryland law permits sparklers without chlorates or perchlorates; snaps; pops; and snakes. All other fireworks are prohibited.

Margarito's accident was the only fireworks-related injury reported in the Baltimore area Monday night and yesterday, fire officials said.

Injuries from fireworks occur most frequently around the Fourth of July and on New Year's Eve. During a Fourth of July fireworks show in Catonsville last year, 13 people were injured - none critically - when a shell went astray and landed in a crowd.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 7,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 1998, the latest year for which data are available.

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