Teen injured in fireworks accident

Index finger blown off in accident


SAN ANTONIOFireworks can be a danger to those who are trying to enjoy their spectacular displays and noise. One Bandera teen knows that lesson all too well.

Two years ago, Bandera-born Gatlin McGee was severely injured by a rogue firework. McGee lost his right index finger.

He, along with his younger brother and some friends, were shooting off a "warlock" when the tube fell over, pointed right at him and fired.

The then-17-year-old reacted to save his brother and friends.

"He was behind me and I just reached and stuck my hand up and caught it and if I hadn't, it would have hit him and possibly the friends that were behind me, " McGee said.

After he made the saving catch, he looked down at his right hand.

"I was just (thinking), 'That's not my hand,'" he said.

It was -- and it left a hole in between his thumb and index finger, which was also blown off.

McGee said they were using common sense.

"We weren't getting crazy with it. We weren't holding the tubes," he said.

But still a gust of wind came up and blew the tube over.

Two years after surgery, McGee is still rehabbing (and) learning to do some things with his left hand.

He is also spreading his message about fireworks.

"I want to spread the word that you need to be careful, " said McGee. "Bad things can happen in a split-second."

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