CALL 6: Man loses hand, hearing in fireworks explosion

Posted at 5:52 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 21:41:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A south side Indianapolis man is still recovering after suffering horrific injuries in a fireworks incident.

Billy Pike was lighting a bottle rocket in his hand on July 9 when it immediately blew up. 

Now, he wants to educate children in school about his experience. 

“It blew my ear off, busted both my ear drums, broke my cheek bone, broke bones in this hand, broke this finger, burned me up my arm, and I got like 40-50 wounds on my chest, " said Pike.  

Pike said until the incident, he had always made fireworks safety a priority. 

"I was always real cautious,” said Pike. “Even on July 4, I made my girlfriend read all the directions on every firework." 

Pike lost several fingers, and he still can’t hear very well. 

He’s had several painful surgeries, and will likely have to endure even more. 

His Healthy Indiana Plan is covering much of his medical costs, but the family is looking to GoFundMe to help fund the thousands of dollars in bandages he needs changed every single day.  

Ironically, Pike used to work as a handyman. 

But he can’t do that anymore, however, he can poke fun at himself. 

“I can give you one and a half thumbs up,” said Pike. 

He wants to spread the message of firework safety and the importance of reading directions. 

“Just use them how they're supposed to be used, and don't do anything dumb,” said Pike. “It only takes one second and you'll regret it the rest of your life.  I just thought it would be neat to light it and throw it.  Now, I'm paying for it." 

RTV6 is working for you to keep you safe when it’s time to celebrate with fireworks:

Safety Tips

  • Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks without adult supervision.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
  • Use a clear, open area and keep the audience a safe distance from the shooting site.
  • Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks device.
  • Only purchase and light 1.4G consumer fireworks. Examples include bottle rockets, Roman candles and fire crackers.
  • Only light one firework item at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • Use extreme caution when lighting fireworks in the wind. Keep spectators where the wind is blowing away from them. 
  • Never smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while handling fireworks.
  • Never aim, point, or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Sparklers burn at extremely hot temperatures from 1200 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Glow sticks make an excellent, safer alternative to sparklers, especially for young children.

Fireworks Laws

  • Fireworks can be purchased only by persons 18 years of age or older.
  • Fireworks may be used:
    • on the user's property;
    • on the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks on that property;
    • at a special discharge location.
  • Consumer fireworks may be used only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on most days that are not holidays. On holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and New Year's Eve), fireworks may be used between 9 a.m. and midnight. On June 29-30, July 1-3 and 5-9, fireworks can be discharged until two hours past sunset. Check with local officials to see when fireworks can be discharged as local ordinances may further restrict usage.