TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It was a scary afternoon in South Toledo on Monday.
"I watched them for a minute and they all fell into the street and I just yelled call 911," one witness said at the scene.
Three young boys' lives are forever changed after a firework exploded in a South Toledo neighborhood. Neighbors said it was both shocking and terrifying.
It started as a normal day of work at nearby Keystone Press for Michael Giles, until he was returning from lunch.
"I just happened to be right inside the window cleaning up a dish after lunch and heard a loud boom, didn't recognize it at all, I knew it wasn't a gun," explained Giles, who works across the street from the corner of Bowman and Prouty.
"I looked straight out the window and there were three boys with a cloud of smoke around them, like from the waist up and just above the head and I just said call 911," said Giles.
Crews responded to the corner of Bowman and Prouty just after 1 p.m. They transported two ten-year-old boys and an 11-year-old boy to the hospital. This after firefighters said they found a firework in the street and lit it. That firework quickly blew up causing traumatic injuries to the young boys.
"When it first happened I was like basically in shock," said Chad Robinson, a teen who lives nearby.
Chad was just across the street at the South Branch Library and walked over to see what happened.
"I was like grossed out like, I saw his whole hand was missing and everything," said Robinson. "It was just scary."
Firefighters said none of the boy's injuries are life-threatening, but they are traumatic and life altering. One ten-year-old lost his hand, but there were also injuries to their arms and faces.
"This is just scary, these are just kids and kids check things out right," said Giles. "They grab things they tinker with them, it's just a bad situation today."
Neighbors said community members were shaken up by the incident, but stepped up to help until first responders arrived. Detectives with the Toledo Police's Arson Unit are investigating the incident and it's one neighbors won't soon forget.
"I got so scared like I always used to hold fireworks and wait until the last second to throw them, I am done with that now," explained Chad Robinson. "I can't do that anymore."
"It stuck with me until now and I'm sure it will stick with me for a couple of days."
First responders are using this incident to spread the message that fireworks are illegal to light within city limits. They also hope parents will talk with their kids about avoiding a situation like this.
"Nobody thinks it's going to happen to them until it does," said Pvt. Sterling Rahe, public information officer for the Toledo Fire Department. "In this case, I think there is a couple lives that have been altered because of this and again if they just left it called 911 and then let us come out and see what it is this wouldn't have happened. Be diligent, remind your kids that these aren't toys."
Firefighters said it's important parents to know what their kids are doing and also educate them on the dangers of fireworks.
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