MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - A Brevard County man's fingers were blown off Tuesday night in a fireworks mishap, according to his friend.
The accident happened at an apartment complex on Ligustrum Lane near North Courtenay Parkway on Merritt Island.
Ryan Dobard was airlifted to a hospital as a trauma alert patient with a serious injury to his hand, officials said.
According to the friend, the victim's fingers have been frozen at the hospital, where doctors will attempt to reattach them.
"We thought he was playing at first, but his hand was just demolished," Sherome Cosby said.
Cosby said he ran up to a second-story balcony where the firework went off to help his friend.
"I just seen blood just shoot up in the air. It was crazy, right up on the balcony up there," Cosby said.
The victim also lost his eyebrows and his hearing was damaged by the sound of the explosion, the friend said.
Another witness, Benito Cruz, said Dobard modified a firework, which had a short fuse, and it blew up in his hand.
"People were taking mortars and breaking them in half, taking off the shuttles so only the bottom was left and lighting the mortar itself," Cruz said. "My advice for people: Don't modify fireworks, use them safely because you could blow your hand off."
Police and fire departments across Central Florida have issued warnings about the dangers of fireworks.
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