Chicagoans killed, maimed and burned by fireworks over holiday

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SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - One man was killed, two others lost fingers and many more suffered other injuries as a result of fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.

David Griffin, 42, was struck in his face about 9:30 p.m. by an aerial rocket as the explosive shot into the air in an alley in the 2500 block of West 54th Street, according to the Chicago Fire and Police departments and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He lived in the block.

Griffen was taken to Holy Cross hospital, but died of his injuries, authorities said.

Two men lost fingers when fireworks went off in their hands late Tuesday and early Wednesday in two separate incidents on the West and Northwest sides, authorities said. One man in his 40s lost several fingers about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday in the 4600 block of West Belmont and another in his 30s lost several fingers about 11 p.m. Tuesday in the 4300 block of West Cortez. Both were taken to hospitals in critical condition.

Other fireworks-related incidents reported by the fire department over the holiday included:

  • three people who were injured about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday in the 6400 block of Sangamon Street;
  • two people who suffered eye injuries in separate incidents about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 7200 block of South Union Avenue and about 10:35 p.m. Tuesday in the 7800 block of South Sawyer;
  • two people who were burned by fireworks about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 8000 block of South Paulina and at an unknown time and day in the 3500 block of West 59th street; and
  • two people who suffered hand injuries in separate incidents about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 3400 block of West 63rd Street and at an unknown time and day in the 4500 block of South Francisco.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the list was hardly definitive, since some people who called for emergency help did not report their injuries as caused by fireworks.

Langford said the fire department was still reviewing incidents and more information would be available at a later date.