DAYTON, Ohio — A 14-year-old boy has been hospitalized with severe burns over a quarter of his body after igniting a coil of firework fuse inside his mother’s car, according to police.
Laura Mauri and her son, Jonah, were traveling through Middletown to pick up Jonah’s father from work so they could attend a Fourth of July party together in Kentucky, according to a police report. The family had packed fireworks to set off later in the night, along with a lighter and two coils of firework fuse.
Laura stepped inside to find her husband while Jonah waited in the car.
When Laura came back outside, a heart-stopping sight greeted her: the minivan was on fire, and Jonah was still inside.
“It’s terrible, man,” said Miguel Alcantar, who came to help when he saw the flames. “I saw the door on the passenger side open, the flames and the boy right there, laying down in the corner."
According to police, Jonah lit one of the family’s coils of firework fuse while his mother was inside, and the car caught fire. One witness, local resident Kevin Gaunt, described the interior of the vehicle as “gutted” once the flames had been extinguished.
“He's 14,” Laura said. “He was not aware of how explosive that could be.”
According to police, Jonah’s injuries included second-degree burns on his arms and face, and he may need surgery on his legs.
After police cleared the scene and pulled Jonah from the burning car, medics airlifted Jonah to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and then transferred him to Shriner's Hospital to treat his burns. His parents drove to the hospital to meet him, according to the police report.
"It’s just a miracle that he’s OK,” Laura said.