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Southern California boy hospitalized, loses fingers after illegal fireworks explosion

A young boy remains hospitalized after losing part of his hand when he discovered an illegal fireworks display in Orange County.

On July 5, Edther Ocampo, 10, had finished soccer practice and was walking home with his brother, Dominic Ocampo, 11.


They were heading to their grandmother’s house in San Juan Capistrano.

As the boys were walking, they spotted something on the ground in an alley. They picked up the unknown object, thinking it was a smoke bomb, and decided to take it home.

What the boys didn’t know was that the object was actually an unexploded illegal firework.

At home, they lit the firework and within seconds it exploded while Edther was still holding it.

The explosion left Edther with serious injuries: he lost three fingers and part of his hand and suffered severe burns, cuts to his face and internal injuries to his abdomen.

“Some of her organs were damaged because of the impact on her stomach,” said Cynthia Garcia-Huertas, the children’s mother.

Esther was rushed to the intensive care unit at UC Irvine Medical Center where she remains hospitalized. Her brother Dominic also suffered burns, cuts and bruises, but his injuries were less severe and did not require hospitalization.

The boys’ family are grateful that Edther is alive and believe that whoever left the illegal fireworks on the public highway behaved recklessly.

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt… when you find yourself in the same situation we were in.”

Esther has a long road to recovery, which will include rehabilitation and possibly the fitting of a prosthesis.

The boys’ father is a painter and their mother, who worked as a medical assistant, quit her job to care for Edther full-time.

His loved ones are relieved that Edther is alive and are doing their best to help him recover so he can get back to doing what he loves most: playing football.

“I’m going to show him my love and support in the best way possible, and that’s just by being there for him,” Garcia-Huertas said.

A GoFundMe fundraiser created to help the family pay for their medical bills can be found here.