A 17-year-old Tacoma boy started his shift at Firecracker Alley last month with all 10 fingers. He left with only six.
Kurtis Musewicz was earning money by hauling boxes at the Puyallup Tribe of Indian’s annual fireworks market on their property at the Port of Tacoma on June 23.
When he and his friends took a break they headed over to a cleared out parking lot where fireworks are set off.
“My buddy, he finds an unused mortar, it was a dud,” he said in a video made by UW Medicine.
“It had a fuse coming off it, and I thought the fuse would be long enough for me to light it and throw it, but, well, no,” he said.
The resulting blast left Musewicz with only a pinky on one hand. His other hand and face were also injured.
Musewicz’s injuries were treated at the University of Washington.
He fits the profile of the most common fireworks injury victims, according to UW doctor Monica Vavilala and a new study: young males.
“The biggest problems are from the shell and mortar fireworks types, and from homemade fireworks,” Vavilala said.
She urged celebrants to enjoy professional shows from afar.
“I didn’t think it was going to blow off my hand,” Musewicz said. “I wasn’t thinking about any of that.”