ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A relaxing Father's Day took a devastating turn for one St. Paul family.
Heidi and John Beard had just finished up dinner with their son, Jacob, and headed outside to watch a neighbor's fireworks display from the driveway.
A few moments later, a firework suddenly shot sideways, striking 10-year-old Jacob from about 60 feet away.
"When the shot came (out), by the time I recognized it was coming at us, it had made contact with him," John told FOX 9.
"It kept burning because it was spinning and setting off sparks. It got caught on his clothing and melted the clothing to him," Heidi said.
Jacob was rushed to the Burn Center at Regions Hospital with first-, second-, and third-degree burns. Minnesota state law bans fireworks that fly or explode, and his parents think a defective firework is to blame.
"It was not operator error. It did not fall over... it was one random shot that came right out the side," said John.
The physical recovery will be long, with skin grafts and surgery in the future, but the mental toll this has taken on Jacob will also be great.
"He said he might be afraid of summer from now on, even though it's his favorite season," said Heidi.
Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Heidi and John say they are speaking out to raise awareness and encourage everyone to enjoy fireworks safely.
"I just want everyone to be safe and know that accidents don't just happen because someone is acting silly. Accidents sometimes happen because things are defective," said Heidi.
Jacob was released from the hospital on Tuesday but is set to have surgery within the next week.
Regions Hospital shared the following safety tips with FOX 9 to prevent fireworks-related injuries.
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Keep children at least 5 feet away from sparklers; at least 20 feet away from displays that don’t leave the ground; and at least 40 feet away from fireworks that shoot into the air
- Keep a bucket of water close to fully extinguish fireworks