St. Louis boy loses 4 fingers in fireworks accident

2013-06-24T00:15:00Z 2014-06-30T17:37:50Z St. Louis boy loses 4 fingers in fireworks accidentBy Jennifer Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com 314-621-5804 stltoday.com

ST. LOUIS • A 10-year-old whose fingers were severed after a firework exploded in his hand will have his second surgery today.

Police said the accident occurred Friday about 8 p.m. when the boy, Martinez Smith-Payne, of St. Louis, lit the firework while holding it in his left hand.

The boy’s mother, Frances Smith, was at the family’s home in the 5500 block of Genevieve Avenue when her son came running back screaming, his left hand covered in blood.

“I didn’t know what happened, and when I saw it, everything just went blank,” she said in an interview Sunday.

Smith said her son was with his brother in a field on a nearby street when they found the firework, which she said sounded more like a small bomb. It was small and silver, with strings coming out of both ends. She said the two had been heading toward a house in the neighborhood where fireworks are frequently sold.

Police on Sunday said the bomb and arson unit was handling an ongoing investigation into the incident, which was classified as an accidental injury.

A police spokeswoman said the explosive involved was a consumer-grade one of the sort that could be purchased at a fireworks stand.

The boy, who is at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, is “in good spirits,” his mother said. She said doctors told them today’s surgery would probably be one of many. He lost four fingers but still has use of his thumb.

A hospital spokesperson said Sunday that the boy was listed in good condition.

Jennifer Mann covers state courts and the criminal justice system. Follow j_s_mann on Twitter.

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