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Man's thumb blown off after he tried to set off firework found by side of road

Family says fuse was too short, warns others
Posted: 4:27 PM, Jan 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-02 08:41:08Z
Danny Ray Ridgeley, Jr. and family

DADE CITY, Fla. — A Tampa Bay area father severely injured his hand in a New Year’s Eve fireworks accident.

His family is speaking out about the accident and the big mistake he made that likely contributed to his injury.

“It all started with New Year's Eve and everybody shooting off fireworks,” said Ashley Nicholls, whose fiancé Danny Ray Ridgeley, Jr. was injured.

Ridgeley was at the end of a quiet Dade City street shooting off fireworks with Nicholls and his three children.

“It was bad. It was the worst moment of my life,” said Noah Ridgeley, Danny’s 10-year-old son, who witnessed the firecracker explode.

Related: Man transported to hospital as trauma alert after fireworks mishap on New Year's Eve in Pasco County

“He lit it and it blew up in his hand,” Noah said.

“He blew his thumb off, he broke his finger,” said Nicholls.

She said he was bleeding profusely and also had injuries to his face and chest. She called 9-1-1.

“He's fading in and out, in and out. He kept on saying I’m sorry babe, I'm sorry babe. I said please keep talking, please keep talking,” she said.

Nicholls said the firecracker exploded was one he found and picked up by the side of the road just after Christmas. She said it had a very short fuse, which he tried to light as he dropped it in a firing tube. The firework exploded before he could pull his hand away.

The road beside his home was covered in blood and broken pieces of a lighter Tuesday.

Ridgeley underwent surgery, but he is expected to survive.

“I could have lost him last night. We all could have lost him last night over a firework,” said Nicholls.

His family doesn’t want others to make the same mistake he did.

“If you ever find a firework laying on the road, just kick it out of the way or throw it in the trash somewhere. Do not pick it up and bring it home,” said Noah.

Nicholls said her family won’t be setting off any fireworks in the future, even those from the store.

“We can watch them, but we're not doing them no more,” she said. “Because I can't do this anymore. “

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