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Fooling with fireworks leaves two boys with burns

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Standing with an AMR paramedic, the victims father looks into the ambulance as one of his children is being prepared for transport to an area hospital.The quiet on a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood street was shattered by an explosion, a little after 8 pm, on the exceptionally muggy evening of Thursday, August 15.

The concussion from the blast in the back yard of a modest but well-kept home in the 6300 block of S.E. 73rd Avenue was so powerful that many neighbors grabbed their phones to call 9-1-1.

As relayed by radio to emergency crews on their way, one caller said that the family didn’t want emergency first-responders called, and that the father himself “was going to take his two boys to the hospital”.

From comments made by neighbors at the scene, it was apparent that the family is well-liked. Folks from up and down the street came running to help.

In the back yard, a neighbor said he saw two boys with burns. “It looked like the older boy took the brunt of the explosion that happened in their fire pit. He had burns on his face and arms,” a neighbor told THE BEE.

Within minutes, two AMR ambulances pulled up in front of the home. Portland Fire and Rescue Engine 11 Firefighters/Paramedics also responded, as did Portland Police officers.

Another neighbor who rushed to help was a man who said he was the postal letter carrier who serves customers on S.E. 73rd Avenue. “These are the best-mannered kids in the world,” he remarked. “They’ve often come walking with me on my delivery route.”

Another neighbor volunteered the suggestion that the kids could have been sprinkling some kind of preservative or food additive on the backyard fire when the explosion occurred.

“I’ve just spoken with the Fire Investigator,” Portland Fire & Rescue spokesperson AJ Schaffer told THE BEE.

“The explosion was confirmed to have been caused by fireworks,” Schaffer said. “The two male juveniles were taken to an area hospital for evaluation, and were found to have superficial, non-life threatening injuries.”

Young boys are naturally attracted to fire, Schaffer observed. “Even the best of children are drawn to experimentation with fire, and with fireworks. Parents need to watch their kids around fire, and teach them how to safely handle fire, and legal fireworks.”