EVANSTON — A 10-year-old Mountain View boy is lucky to be alive after picking up a lit firework last week. However, as Keaton Titmus and his family head toward recovery, the Bridger Valley community is rallying in fine style.
The boy lost three fingers and damaged another in the accident, which occurred around 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 30.
Keaton is reportedly recovering well, though, and his mother, Trisa Titmus, is grateful he is alive. In the meantime, she hopes to warn everyone to be careful when storing fireworks and to always supervise children around them.
“My son is here and alive,” she said, “and some other parent might not be so lucky.”
Trisa said Keaton had found a lighter in his grandfather’s junkyard and remembered where he had seen some fireworks stored some six months earlier, Trisa said. The 10-year-old gathered the fireworks, waited until his grandma and one of his brothers were in the house and then headed behind a car to light an M-80 (a large, powerful firecracker) he had found.
After lighting the explosive, Keaton decided to pick it up and try to throw it — but it exploded in his hand, tearing away his right thumb and tendon and the first two fingers above the knuckles, besides severely damaging his ring finger.
His grandmother had heard the sound, so while Keaton was running toward the house, she was running toward the door. In short order his arm was wrapped in a towel and they were headed to the Lyman ambulance shack while calling 911. He was taken to Evanston, then flown by AirMed to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for surgery.
Since then, Keaton has been amazing his medical team and family with his buoyancy, Trisa said, to the point that he is already learning to become left-handed. He has even written thank-you notes already, and Trisa has also found reason to be grateful for his strong-willed nature.
“If my son wasn’t such a strong-willed child and so determined to begin with, his recovery would not be progressing the way it is,” Trisa said.
Keaton faces a long road of recovery in the future, such as therapy to adapt to the outdoor activities he enjoys, and possible future surgeries or prosthetics.
But considering what did happen — and what could have happened — Trisa hopes this accident might be able to prevent future tragedies. Children need to have adult supervision while lighting fireworks, she said, and they need to remember to stay away from them after they have been lit.
“This is a family life changing experience,” Trisa said.
The family is not facing this alone, however. The day after Keaton’s accident, family friend Keri Bluemel took Trisa’s original request for advice on Facebook (as the family is in between insurances) and initiated an auction page from it.
Since then, more than 1,270 people have joined the page, and there are dozens of items being auctioned off to benefit Keaton’s recovery.
Trisa said she wants to thank the community, family, friends, the Uinta County Fire and Ambulance, Primary Children’s and its staff, AirMed, and all donors and bidders for their help and support.
Editor’s note: the story posted Monday was Keaton Titmus had detonated an M-80. FYI for everyone, M-80s are illegal throughout the United States and have been for many, many, many years. Much more powder than in the traditional firecrackers. The big fireworks in the tubes are designed to shoot up and explode high in the air.