A Chicago nurse was startled when she heard a loud explosion in her Portage Park neighborhood followed by a scream. The nurse says she initially thought the sound was a gunshot but soon learned that a neighbor was the victim of a fireworks accident that blew off part of his hand. Approximately three hours after the accident, the woman let her dog out into the yard and he came back with something shocking in his mouth: a human hand.
KFSM reports that a Chicago barber lost a portion of his hand in a fireworks accident this week. The barber was shooting off fireworks on Thursday afternoon when one accidentally went off in his hand. The explosion, which authorities say had the power of a half stick of dynamite, caused a portion of the man’s hand to be blown completely off and he was rushed to a nearby trauma center for treatment.
Dog Retrieves Hand After Man Loses It In Firecracker Explosion: (CBS) – A Chicago nurse got… https://t.co/ieY8xveWQm
— CHICAGO PIXELS (@chicagopixels) July 1, 2016
Cheri Steigert says she was sleeping at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon when she heard a loud bang outside. The nurse, who typically works nights, says the noise woke her from her sleep and was immediately followed by a loud scream. The nurse didn’t know what the sound was, but did not go outside to investigate. However, about three hours later, the woman says she let her dog outside in the backyard. The dog retrieved something from the yard and brought it back to Steigert.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) July 1, 2016
The nurse says she initially thought the dog had brought back a rabbit, but upon further inspection realized the dog was holding a human hand in his mouth.
“I came back out to pick it up, and I found out it was the other part of the young man’s hand.”
Steigert says she called authorities to report the hand and was told that a fireworks accident had taken place in the neighborhood earlier that day. The 39-year-old man, a barber, had lost a portion of his hand in the accident and the force of the explosion must have sent the hand flying into Steigert’s yard.
According to the Daily Mail, the hand was found 250 feet from where the original fireworks accident took place. The nurse says that this is the first time she has had the Fourth of July off in years and that she wasn’t expecting human body parts to be flying into her yard.
“This is the first Fourth of July I’ve had off in three years… and now I’ve got body parts flying in my yard.”
The victim was later identified by ABC 7 as 39-year-old Rafat Shejaeya. The paramedics that responded to the horrific scene noted that they were able to find two of Shejaeya’s fingers in an alley near the explosion and put them on ice. However, the majority of Shejaeya’s hand remained missing until authorities received the call from Steigert about her dog’s strange find.
Shejaeya told reporters from his hospital bed that he is still in shock about the accident and that he would warn others to “be careful” when playing with fireworks this weekend.
“I remember looking at my hand and there was no hand there. No fingers, no nothing.”
— State Fire Marshal (@MnDPS_SFM) July 1, 2016
Shejaeya is one of the first reported fireworks injuries this year, but he isn’t the only fireworks accident victim speaking out about the dangers of Fourth of July celebrations. Nick Beheng, 31, nearly died in a horrific fireworks accident back in 2012 and is encouraging those celebrating with fireworks to treat them as if they were loaded firearms.
“They should be treated like a loaded firearm, they need to be treated with respect.”
[Image via Shutterstock]