Fooling with fireworks leaves two boys with burns

Their curiosity led to an explosion that sent these SE Portland youths to the hospital. See why officials say it could have been worse …

Police, fire and medical units rush to the scene of a Brentwood-Darlington backyard explosion.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A quiet evening along a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood street was shattered by an explosion, a little after 8:00 p.m. on August 15.

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

As relayed to emergency crews on the way, via radio, one caller to 9-1-1 said that the family didn’t want emergency first-responders called, and that the father “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.

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.

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 East Portland News.

Within minutes, two AMR ambulances pulled up in front of the home. Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 11 Firefighters/Paramedics also responded to the scene, as did Portland Police Bureau East Precinct District Officers.

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

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

Firefighters talk with an AMR paramedic in front of the house where the blast incident occurred.

“I’ve just spoken with the Fire Investigator,” Portland Fire & Rescue spokesperson AJ Schaffer told East Portland News the following day.

“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 noted. “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.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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