NEAR PORTLAND, Ore. – A Washington County man severely injured his hand after an illegal firework exploded before it was supposed to, firefighters said.
27-year-old Curtis Januik had to undergo surgery where doctors reattached his right thumb, a Washington County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
Deputies said Januik was holding an airborne mortar firework in his hand with a launching tube when the mortar exploded.
Firefighters confiscated the remaining illegal fireworks at the location and destroyed them.
Januik was not cited for having the illegal fireworks, which he told deputies he bought in Vancouver, Wash.
"I learned my lesson," Januik told deputies.
The incident happened on Sunday evening off NW Mahama Place near Rock Creek Golf Course.
In Oregon, any fireworks that move across the ground more than six feet or fly higher than 12 inches are not allowed. That includes bottle rockets, roman candles and M80s.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue firefighters plan to drive through neighborhoods this week to make sure those rules are followed.
In Portland, fire department spokesman Peter Delval said his bureau will be working with the police bureau to crack down on illegal fireworks.
Starting this week, all Portland Police Bureau officers are deputized to write fire code citations to people using illegal fireworks. Fines if found guilty can be as much as $1,000.
If you’d like to see the big fireworks, check out KATU’s Fourth of July guide to find a professional display near you.