Bomb Explodes In Boy's Hand

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A Star Valley boy lost three fingers on his left hand when the homemade explosive he was playing with detonated in his hand.

The 14-year-old was alone at his home on Moonlight Drive when the explosion happened, Sgt. Bob Birgam of the Gila County Sheriff's Department said.

"(The teen) told officers he made a bomb by filling an expanded CO2 cartridge from a paint gun with gunpowder," Birgam said. "He said he got the gunpowder out of a shotgun shell he had opened. He placed a smoke bomb fireworks fuse in it probably two or three inches long and lit it with a cigarette lighter."

The boy told deputies he immediately tried to pull the fuse out of the cartridge, but it was stuck. When he tried to throw it, the cartridge exploded in his hand.

"The boy walked across the street to a neighbor's house," Diamond-Star Fire Chief Gary Hatch said. "When we arrived, we found the young male with two fingers amputated, and a third finger 'de-gloved.' That means the skin had been pretty much blown off, but the bone was still there."

Hatch said the teen was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center, and was then flown to the Valley for treatment. Fire and sheriff's officials were unsure of the boy's condition as of Friday morning and his family could not be reached for comment.

Birgam said the incident is still under investigation, but he doesn't expect charges to be filed.

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