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Explosion that injured 2 Oxford boys caused by firework, police say

Posted at 11:03 AM, Apr 11, 2019

OXFORD, Ohio — The explosion that injured two boys was caused by a firework they said they found and one tried to light, police said Thursday.

The 12-year-old boys discovered the firework, which police said was similar to one called an "aerial salute," in an alley on March 19. It was silver, round and about the size of a baseball.

According to Popular Mechanics, a salute is designed to make a loud noise. They are usually filled with a mix of potassium perchlorate and aluminum powder. An aerial salute are intended to be "lofted high into the air by a lifting charge prior to detonation so the syncopated rhythms of the booms echo for miles," the magazine reported.

One of the boys, Caleb Bogan, told police the wick was already short and charred when he attempted to light it with a lighter he'd found on the street earlier that evening.

The firework exploded "very quickly" while Caleb was holding it, causing severe injuries, police said. The explosion cost Caleb his entire left hand, the index finger of his right hand, part of his chin and several teeth, his aunt, Holly Knapp, previously said. He was rushed to the hospital and required hours of surgery.

It's possible that the firework had been partially lit or detonated before the boys found it. Police said they couldn't determine where it had originated. Lab results showed pyrotechnic residue on Caleb's jacket.

Police said they have been in communication with both boys' families about closing the investigation.