Former marine injured while lighting firework

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Former marine injured while lighting firework. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 29, 2017. (WPVI)

The 4th of July is coming up, so we know a lot of people will be lighting fireworks in their backyard. But the experience of one military veteran should make you think twice.

Patrick Fleenor served 4 years with the marines, including a deployment on the war front.

Fresh out of the corps last July, he was ready to make noise.

"I was actually really really excited, barbecue, blow stuff up, and celebrate America," he said.

But a faulty fuse changed Fleenor's life in a blink.

"The firework blew up as soon as I lit it, and I didn't have time to turn around and run away or anything," Fleenor said.

It exploded directly in his left eye, burning the retina.

"I did 4 years of, you know, shooting machine guns and being in harm's way, you can say, and never even came close to an injury like that," Fleenor said.
University of Missouri burn surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Litt says even small fireworks create intense heat.

"They are in fact explosives and can range from several hundred degrees to 1000 or more degrees," Dr. Litt said.

Fleenor lost a lot of vision because of the accident.

Dr. Litt says if you plan on sending off your own fireworks, have a safety plan.

- Never light one in your hand.
- Never try to re-lightfireworks.
- Always wear protective eye gear.
- Have a bucket of water ready.

But much safer is to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

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healthhealthcheckfireworksburn injuries4th of july
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