NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — It’s the 4th of July holiday weekend, and for many, that means fireworks.

Newton native Scott Jones has shot fireworks most of his life. Two years ago, one changed his life forever. It is now a moment he often replays, especially as the 4th of July approaches.

“We were shooting off the mortar shells. One of them didn’t go off and left a short fuse,” Jones said. “Not thinking about it because you know I’ve done I’ve shot fireworks most of my life, went in (the silo) and lit it and was gonna drop it.”

The firework blew up in his hand, causing Jones to lose four fingers forever.

“I don’t want any child or anybody to end up like this,” he said. “I still have a lot of anxiety, especially now. The phantom pains are rough.”

Firework injuries like this are more common than you think. In 2021, Ascension Via Christi’s Burn Center saw 24 patients come around the holiday.

“We had at least two-thirds of our total number were children last year, some very young, and I think that a lot of them were coming in for smoke bomb injuries,” said Sarah Fischer, Ascension Via Christi Burn Program Coordinator.

Fischer says the burn center is prepared for the holiday weekend, “We know that the numbers are going to increase. So we make sure our staff is prepared. We have more staff available if we need to. People can be on call.”

Meanwhile, Jones hopes others will learn from his mistake and be careful.

“I won’t get my fingers back, and if a child loses (theirs), he’s not gonna lose that finger over a firework. Again it’s not the fireworks’ fault. It’s on us as individuals, not teaching them correctly,” he said.

Jones says if he can help spare others’ pain by sharing his story, then losing his fingers will be worth it.