April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Man burned in fireworks accident

LORAIN – Matthew Tursivio said he’ll never use fireworks again.

The Sheffield Lake man burned his hands, right knee and the right side of his face in a fireworks accident around 11 p.m. Friday. Tursivio, 23, of the 200 block of Mariners Circle in Sheffield Lake, told police he was in the 3800 block of Oxford Drive when he accidentally ignited a box of fireworks after lighting a sparkler, causing the explosion that burned him. Tursivio, who was treated at EMH Amherst Hospital, was charged with illegal discharge of fireworks.

In a Sunday interview, Tursivio said he was a couple of feet from a box of bottle rockets and firecrackers when a spark from the sparkler ignited the box. Tursivio said he tried to kick the box away when it exploded.

“I should’ve known better,” he said. “Apparently they can do some damage.”

Independence Day weekend is the most popular time for fireworks, but area fire departments reported no serious injuries through Sunday night other than Tursivio’s injuries.

Fireworks are illegal to use in Ohio without a state permit, but can be purchased and possessed. Buyers must sign a form saying they will take the fireworks out of Ohio within 48 hours.  “It’s kind of a Catch-22,” Lorain firefighter Robert Hendershot said.

Ohio had 113 fireworks-related fires last year, according to The Associated Press. There were 18 serious injuries – including blinding, loss of fingers and severe burns – in the last three years. Nationwide last year, there were about 8,600 injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Tursivio said he suffered second-degree burns, and doctors aren’t sure if the burns will cause permanent scarring. Tursivio said he’s never lit a sparkler or played with fireworks before and was “shocked” how much damage a small amount of bottle rockets can do.

“It was the first time and it was my last,” he said. “Definitely never again.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.