TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - "As soon as I had lit it... Boom!", says Ryan Whitson who lost parts of his fingers when fireworks exploded with his left hand just inches away.
It happened Wednesday night when the Whitsons joined other families in their Taylor neighbor to set off fireworks in the middle of the street in celebration of Independence Day.
This was the first year that Michigan consumers could buy fireworks that are more powerful than mere sparklers and simple items. Several communities fought against the change made by Michigan's legislature.
Twenty-four shells came in the Whitsons' box of fireworks labeled "Kiss of Death." Ryan Whitson says he followed the directions and had no problem lighting the first 20 shells.
Number 21 exploded almost as soon as the wick was lit.
"I told my wife I think I just blew my hand off", says Whitson.
Christina Whitson cried as she told 7 Action News, "I brought him in. Put him in the sink and went outside and yelled for help. That's all I could do".
Ryan was rushed to Oakwood Hospital where he says doctors did what they could. He ended up losing the top half of each of his five fingers on his left hand.
Ryan says doctors have told him that he will likely need multiple surgeries, but he's thankful he didn't lose an eye. Ryan added, I thank God above there was no child around me".
The Whitsons say they are done setting off their own fireworks.
"Never ever again", says Christina Whitson.