Michigan man recovering after firework nearly blows off fingers

Taylor man says 'Kiss of Death' firework exploded as he lit fuse

TAYLOR, Mich. - A southeast Michigan man is recovering after a firework destroyed all or part of four fingers on his left hand.

Ryan Whitson, 41, of Taylor, said he was at a block party Wednesday when he lit off a firework called "The Kiss of Death."

The firework is a reloadable mortar device.

In an interview by phone from his hospital bed, Whitson told Local 4's Jim Kiertzner that he thought he had only received a gunpowder burn until he saw blood everywhere and went into the house to run his hand under water in a sink.

"Because they were legal to buy, I thought they were safe. Come to find out, kaboom, it was done," Whitson said.

Whitson said he had lit several of the same firework before and followed all of the directions.

Whitson said he has lost most of four of his fingers and went through four hours of surgery.

The pain is so bad that Whitson is on morphine while recovering at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn.

No one else was hurt.

Whitson said he has kept the label to the firework and plans on seeking a response, or possible legal action, from the firework's manufacturer.

"I got proof where I got them from. I have several, several witnesses that will tell you that's what happened. We had a big party on the side of our house," he said.

Whitson said he used to work as a welder but is unemployed and doesn't know how his injury will affect future work.

"I'll never have my fingers again. So, I guess that's the way life goes sometimes," he said.

Tune into Local 4 News at 6 p.m. to hear the full interview


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