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Healthy Kids: Colorado teenage burn victim speaks out about firework dangers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Alarming statistics as we approach the Fourth of July holiday. Data from Front Range Fire Rescue reveals between 8,000 and 12,000 people are treated in hospitals each year in the U.S. for fireworks-related injuries.

Half of those injured are children under the age of 15. And there is one teenager here in Colorado whose life changed forever a few weeks before the Fourth of July in 2020.

"My sister did a smoke flare before me and hers was great and then I had one in my hand and after a few seconds it exploded in my hand," says 14-year-old William Peterson.

William's injuries were extensive, his right hand suffered third-degree burns.

"The pain was horrific," says William.

"The smoke flare just disintegrated and was burning in his hand, says William's dad, Kyle. "His uncle had to basically hit it out of his hand."

Thankfully, William didn't lose any fingers, nor did he need a skin graph. He received treatment at Children's Hospital Colorado, where his full-thickness burns did take time to heal.

 "You can't really see a lot in the hand, but you know it's really bad when parts of the burn are just white," says Kyle.

William and his dad are now warning everyone of the dangers this summer, knowing could have been so much worse.

"More caution needs to be used when any type of flammable thing is being handled or dealt with," says Kyle. "You don't realize the severity of the injury that it can cause. It makes you realize that a lot of the fireworks are not worth it and have the risk of going through a horrible risk like that. Luckily for Will, he came out of it okay."

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 40 percent of fireworks-related injuries are caused by legal fireworks, such as sparklers and other novelty items. Sparklers may seem safe, but despite their harmless reputation, they burn at 1,400 degrees. That's hot enough to melt some metals and responsible for the most firework injuries that the Children's Hospital Colorado burn team sees.

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.



  1. “William and his dad are now warning everyone of the dangers this summer, knowing could have been so much worse.”
    Why bother warning people?
    Such warnings have been given out over and over for decades, and you folks didn’t bother to listen, did you?

  2. I would bet somewhere on the packaging was the warning not to hold in your hand. I have seen people holding roman candles when shooting them, that stake on the bottom is not for holding. Many fireworks injuries are from misuse.

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