As Fourth of July nears, UW Medicine and 'Mike' warn of fireworks injuries, deaths

SEATTLE -- Don't be like this Mike on the Fourth of July.

Michael Spencer lost several fingers and underwent 11 surgeries at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center from a fireworks explosion while he was in Montana.  He was holding a shell-and-mortar fireworks over his head when it suddenly exploded.

He shares his story -- and offers a warning to others -- in a safety video released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and in a view produced at UW Medicine.

The safety commission said an estimated 12,900 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks injuries and eight people were killed last year.

"What causes the most injuries? Sparklers, according to the safety commission. And what causes the most severe injuries? Legal shells and mortars, according to a study by UW Medicine researchers," the UW said.

The UW Medicine study was published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine.