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Teen loses part of his finger in fireworks blast in Riverside

By in Press Enterprise on July 8, 2017

By Brian Rokos

An improvised firework blew part of a 14-year-old boy’s finger off at a Fourth of July party, the Riverside Fire Department said.

The teenager had an unspecified firework inside a plastic bottle when the explosion happened about 9:15 p.m. in the 5900 block of Central Avenue, said Ray Mendoza, captain of the department’s Investigations Unit.

The explosion caused the boy to lose his middle finger down to the top knuckle on his right hand. He also suffered damage to his palm and third-degree burns, the most serious kind.

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The teen and his family were visiting from out of town, Mendoza said.

The owner of the residence spoke with fire officials and was “very emotional and remorseful,” Mendoza said, and knew that fireworks are illegal in Riverside.

The owner received a warning — instead of a citation that could have included a $1,000 fine — because of the circumstances, Mendoza said. The city’s goal is not to write tickets, Mendoza said, but to prevent injuries and educate the public.

“There’s no more education that they didn’t see on their own,” he said. “Enforcing the municipal code by that point was not needed.”

Mendoza said he believes there were one or two other similar incidents in the city on July 4, but the reports have not come in. That same day in San Bernardino, an 8-year-old boy lost a hand when a device exploded.

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