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Dorchester boys, 5 and 9, hurt by firework

Older child loses hand in explosion

Rasiel Carbuccia, 9, was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital after losing his hand in a firework blast.

A 9-year-old boy’s hand was blown off and his 5-year-old friend was seriously injured on Sunday afternoon in Dorchester when a firework they were playing with exploded.

The 9-year-old appeared to be injured more seriously than the younger boy, but both are expected to recover, police said.

Kesina Gray, 30, and Michael Graham, 28, of Dorchester, were getting out of a car to visit Graham’s mother on Howard Avenue when they heard a sound “like a bomb,” Graham said.

Then two boys ran past, covered in blood.

“I heard this kid screaming,” Gray said, standing on the porch next door and still shaken a few hours after the incident. “It sounded like he was in terrible pain . . . blood all down his arm. His hand was missing.”


Gray called 911 at 12:01 p.m. and ambulances responded about 15 minutes later, she said. The boy had fled toward the three-decker where his family lives, racing up the stairs to their third-floor apartment. Gray heard the screaming intensify as the family saw the injured boy.

Family members of the 9-year-old identified him as Rasiel Carbuccia. His sister, Rosa Ortiz, 16, said their mother was in the living room when he came in the door, trailing blood.

Ortiz said Rasiel stared at his injury, asking his family, “Am I going to die? Where’s my arm? Where’s my arm?”

“I just thought the worst, that he was just going to go and die,” Ortiz said.

The boys were playing with the fireworks with a group of children about noon on Howard Avenue, police said. When one firework ignited, it exploded near the children. Both the 5- and 9-year-old sustained injuries to their faces and hands, police said.

“The two children were taken to area hospitals for treatment,” said Boston police spokesman Stephen McNulty.


About 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Rasiel’s siblings and cousins were en route to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he was going into surgery, Ortiz said. His parents were already at the hospital with him.

McNulty described the incident as a tragic accident, “nothing criminal at this time,” though police secured the scene and are investigating. How the children acquired the firework is not yet known.

“This is active, ongoing, and terribly depressing,” said McNulty.

Neighbors said the children were playing with an M16 firework, which is a type of firecracker. Officials could not confirm the exact type of firework that ignited.

Consumer fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts. Each year, officials caution the public about the dangers of fireworks, which contribute to a Fourth of July weekend rife with injuries and fires.

According to the 2014 Consumer Products Safety Commission report on fireworks, “children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries,” and children from 5 to 9 years of age had the highest estimated rate of fireworks-related injuries requiring emergency room treatment.

Hands and fingers are the most likely areas to be injured in a fireworks-related accident, according to the report.

Howard Avenue was quiet hours after the incident. The police left the area after scouring the neighborhood and streets for any other unlighted fireworks. People walked along the sidewalk and sat on stoops outside. Around the corner from the 9-year-old’s home is a park, near which the incident occurred.

The neighborhood had looked similarly peaceful before the accident, Graham said. Standing on the porch, Graham said he could still hear the “boom,” which he had thought was a pipe bomb and left his ears ringing.


Gray, a teacher with a 6-year-old son, was disturbed by Sunday’s scene and the circumstances. “Kids should be in a science class making volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar, not blowing up M16s,” she said.

Ortiz said the incident that injured her brother was terrifyingly surreal, like a movie.

A cousin, Brismely Guzman, 24, was visiting from New York.

As Ortiz pointed at the blood in the hallway Sunday afternoon, Guzman repeated over and over, “I hate fireworks.”

Globe correspondent Nicole Fleming contributed to this report. Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com.