York Fire Chief David Michaels explains what the new Pa. fireworks laws mean for residents
Tommy Brady planned on having a typical FourthÂ of July party.
On July 3, his house was full of friends, his pool was full of kids playing, and he had bought aboutÂ $300 worth of fireworks to put on a good show.
Brady has lived in McSherrystown his whole life and moved into his home on Franklin Court this past March.Â He was excited to have everyone there and decided it was time to testÂ some of his fireworks.
Brady’s close friend, Kim Myer, was standing in his kitchen when they started to go off. She went outside to tell him to move out further into the field, but that’s when she was told 911 had been called and Brady was hurt.
A crewmember from a medical helicopter gives a thumbs up to the pilot as they disembark the helicopter to transport Tommy Brady to their helicopter after a firework reportedly blew up in his face, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in McSherrystown.Â (Photo: Harrison Jones, For The Evening Sun)
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He had just lit two fireworks at the same time, but one of them didn’t go off.Â
Brady thought the one was a dud and when he went to pull it away to set up some more, that’s when the firework exploded in his face, Myer said.
Myer ran down to him and saw him bent over with his lip hanging off andÂ his faceÂ swollen. She couldn’t look anymore.
“I just couldn’t, I was terrified. I didn’t want to say anything, I was scared,” she said.
She ran and got him a bag of frozen vegetables and a towel to put on his face while they waited for the ambulance to get there.
One of Brady’s friends stayed with him and kept him calm while they waited.
“Shrapnel hit my face and was smoking off. I could feel my lip hanging there, I tried to suck it in, but I wasn’t sure how bad it was,” Brady said.
When the ambulance got there, emergency medical technicians immediately said they needed a helicopter.Â
That took Brady over the edge a little bit because he thought they had saw something even worse than what he was feeling, he said.
“All IÂ knew was that my eyes weren’t opening, and myÂ face felt like it was on fire,” Brady said.
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Brady sustained injuries to his eyes, face, hands and teeth. One of his teeth cracked and another went through the roof of his mouth, which he was able to get out himself before the ambulance got there.
EMTs got Brady into the ambulance and took him to where they staged the helicopter to fly him to York Hospital. They ended up having to redirectÂ him to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for his burns and the need to reconstruct his lip.
He had a five-hour surgery to do reconstruction on his lip and chin. The next day,Â he said he had the shrapnel picked out of his eyes while he was awake.
Brady told MyerÂ that was the worst pain he has ever gone through in his life.
During that procedure he had to have them stop at times because of the pain. Afterward, he shook for 20 minutes because his adrenaline was so high, he said.
First responders return to their vehicles after transporting Tommy Brady to a medical helicopter after a firework blew up in his face, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in McSherrystown.Â (Photo: Harrison Jones, For The Evening Sun)
Brady spent a total of three days in the hospital;Â two of those days were in the intensive care unit.
Now, BradyÂ is home and recovering.Â He still has some gunpowder in his face, and his eyesight isn’t back to 100 percent yet.
It takes him about three to four hours each morning just to get his eyes open and adjusted to the light, Brady said.
He gets a lot of headaches. The first few nights he was having nightmares and with people still setting off fireworks in the area, his anxiety is heightened.
“Still if I think about it, I get a little worked up,” Brady said.
Doctors believe he can make a full recovery based on his progression so far, but they can’t say with complete certainty.Â
They are not sure how long it will be before Brady can go back to work at Hanover Architectural Products toÂ supportÂ himself and his two kids.
Local churches gave a donation that covered his electric bill for this month, but he still has car payments and mortgage payments he needs to make.Â
His disability will take awhile to kick in, and it is nowhere near what he is used to making while at work, MyerÂ said.Â Â
Still, “he got very lucky, if the firework went somewhere else he could have been blind or dead,” she said.
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