This past Thursday, at about 3:30PM, the Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Portage Park was shocked when a man (employed as a barber no less) blew his hand off of himself with a firework. Neighbors heard the bang, and then an excruciating cream come from an alleyway. That’s when 39-year-old Rafat Shejaeya realized, he was missing his hand.
“I remember looking at my hand and there was no hand there. No fingers, no nothing,” said Shejaeya.
According to Shejaeya’s neighbor, Cheri Steigert, “It was the most terrifying scream, and you know when you hear something like that, something bad happened.”
Paramedics arrived and were able to locate two of the missing fingers, and get them on ice. They didn’t have very much luck finding the rest. That is until Steigert’s dog discovered them.
“Three hours later, I let my dog out in the yard and she comes back trotting with something in her mouth. I actually realized before picking it up it was part of the man’s hand. It had flown from across the street into our yard,” she said.
Shejaeya may actually recover the use of some of his hand. He isn’t sure that he’ll ever be able to return to his job as a barber, which is something he’ll just have to live with. He’s putting out a warning to anyone that is planning on setting off fireworks this Fourth of July Weekend, “I’d tell people to be careful.”
Chicago police also stated that extra care is needed during the summer, and this part of it specifically. In 2014, they saw a total of 45 fireworks accidents, and in 2015 the number was down a bit to 25. Regardless, many areas have rules and regulations surrounding fireworks and their use. Please be sure to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones (especially dogs), and follow all laws and regulations.