LAFD: Boy badly burned and 'could lose his eyesight'

A 15-year-old boy sustained critical face burns when he tried to ignite material from discarded personal fireworks in Wilmington, and he was being treated today at a regional burn center.

Police summoned firefighters just before 1 p.m. Monday to the 1000 block of North Sanford Avenue in Wilmington, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Witnesses said the boy had scavenged flammable powder from discarded and unused personal fireworks he found in the neighborhood, and he put the volatile mix into a cardboard tube on a fireworks ground display, Humphrey said.

When he tried to light the home-made firework, intense flames enveloped the boy's entire face, causing deep and painful second-degree burns and severely damaging his eyes, Humphrey said.

"He could lose his eyesight," Humphrey said.

The boy was transported in critical condition to St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach for emergency trauma care, after which he was transferred by private ambulance to a regional burn center, Humphrey said.

"The folks at St. Mary did a terrific job stabilizing him," Humphrey said. "He's going to be getting hands-on care for days and days."

No other injuries were reported.

A Los Angeles police bomb squad responded and investigated the incident, in conjunction with Fire Department arson investigators, Humphrey said.

Possession or personal use of any firework has been outlawed in Los Angeles since World War II, Humphrey said.

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