13-year-old boy injured by backyard fireworks in Greenback

6 News Reporter

Jake Walker (source: friends)GREENBACK (WATE) - Every year firefighters warn about the dangers of lighting and setting off fireworks yourself. This year, a 13-year-old Maryville boy is an example of how easily things can go wrong. 

Jake Walker was injured Sunday night at a 4th of July party in Greenback.

Walker was rushed to UT Medical Center after fireworks exploded in his hands. He was then transported to the Vanderbilt Burn Center in Nashville where he was listed in stable condition Monday evening.

The accident happened just before 10:00 Sunday night on Longview Drive in Blount County.

The Greenback Volunteer Fire Department answered the call. "The worst thing he was dealing with last night was pain. He was really in pain. He was hollering at the top of his lungs," said Chief Ronnie Lett.

Jake accidentally dropped a lighter which sparked a huge explosion.

"He had a lighter in his hand and he walked up to the table they had the fireworks on and dropped the lighter into a bucket of fireworks," explained Lett. "It set one of them off and then, all at once, everything exploded and they said it was the biggest fire ball they had ever seen."

The homeowner did not want to speak on camera, but pointed out the charred grass near a barn where they were setting off fireworks.

The area is about a football field's length from the house where all the other children were viewing the show. The homeowner said Jake was helping the adults when the accident happened.

Chief Lett said the injuries were serious. "Second degree burns over both hands, elbow and second degree burn around the neck, and some minor facial burns from where his shirt had caught on fire and he took it off."

The homeowner said the initial blast set off a chain reaction of fireworks. A Jeep parked nearby was in the line of fire. One of the windows was blown out, and the vehicle caught fire.

The guests were able to get the fire out quickly, and the homeowner said he was thankful the vehicle was there so it stopped the rest of the fireworks from spreading.

One of the adults was also injured, but Chief Lett said his burns were minor, and did not require medical attention. 

"We've had a lot of firecracker injury instances, but nothing that bad," Lett said. 

The Blount County Sheriff's Office says it is illegal to shoot off fireworks in the county, but no citations were issued in this case.