12-year-old suffers serious burns when chain reaction sets off pocket full of fireworks

BRANDON, Fla. - New Year's Day started with a near tragedy for a boy who suffered serious burns when his pocket full of fireworks accidentally went off.

Alex James and his friends were shooting off bottle rockets when sparks from one of them lit the dozens he had stuffed in his front pocket.

"That shot off, and he tried to take them out by by the time one blew he started running and then the rest of them blew up," said Dakota Hardy, 9, who was playing with Alex when it happened. "They didn't shoot (anywhere), they just went pow pow pow."

Alex suffered second and third degree burns from his waist down to his knees.

His brother tells ABC Action News he's doing better, but will undergo surgery on Friday.

Emmett Sowles said he had a bad feeling when he watched the kids shoot off fireworks earlier in the day from right next door.

"I knew something was going to happen," he said. "Something was bound to happen."

One neighbor told us it appeared the boy was in a state of shock when his step-mom started spraying the garden hose on him until help arrived.

"I couldn't really fall asleep last night," said Dakota, who plays football with Alex for the Brandon Broncos league.

He and his brother Kyle admit they learned a valuable lesson to start off 2014. As their friend recovers in the hospital, they now know how dangerous fireworks can be.

"It was pretty scary because they didn't know what to expect or what was going to happen," said Amy Hardy, Dakota and Kyle's mother. "I'm thankful that it wasn't my children but then again I feel sorry for Alex. I hope he gets better."