Pregnant Mom, 3-Year-Old Son Hospitalized After Firework Accident at Block Party: 'Chaos'
A pregnant Tennessee mom is warning of the dangers of fireworks after she and her toddler son was seriously injured in a neighborhood display gone awry.
Katie Bihl, who is 28 weeks pregnant, was hospitalized alongside her 3-year-old son on Sunday following a block party accident in Spring Hill, ABC affiliate WKRN.
"We had a safety line in the street that nobody was supposed to go past, and then all of a sudden it turned to chaos," she told the outlet.
Bihl's husband Luke said a neighbor had purchased a box with about six or seven small fireworks, and the box tipped over, sending the explosives shooting toward his family.
"They were exploding, like, right in front of my face and I didn't know what was going on or where it was coming from or how long it was going to last or what was happening," Katie Bihl told WKRN.
"It exploded on me!" she can be heard saying.
The expectant mother suffered first, second and third-degree burns on her legs, while her son, who was sitting on her lap at the time, suffered first-degree burns, according to WZTV.
Bihl told WKRN that while in the emergency room seeking treatment, hospital employees told her there were at least a dozen other patients also being treated for firework-related injuries.
"It's much more common than people think and you never know when it could happen to you," she said. "Looking back, there were things that should have been done to make sure that everybody was safe, but people get really excited and it's like, you take your safety for granted."
Moving forward, Bihl hopes that her near-miss with tragedy will serve as a teachable moment for others.
"I just want people to be safe. I don't want to see, I don't want to hear another story of a death that could've been prevented or a serious bodily injury that could've been prevented," she told WZTV. "I just want people to be safe."
Over the holiday weekend, several others endured firework-related injuries — and some were fatal, including those suffered by NHL player Matiss Kivlenieks.
The 24-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets goalie died in Michigan of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast, the Associated Press reported.
Kivlenieks was in a hot tub when the incident occurred, slipped and fell while trying to escape, and hit his head on concrete, according to ESPN.
Meanwhile, in Huntington County, Indiana, a 41-year-old man setting off fireworks was killed after a mortar shell exploded inside of a firework tube, ABC News reported. Steven Sims was hit with shrapnel, and reportedly died at the scene.
Fire officials in Chicago also said that a local teenager lost a hand and suffered other critical injuries following a fireworks-related incident.
"Please leave fireworks to professional venues," the Chicago Fire Department wrote on Twitter.