Two people suffered fireworks-related hand injuries on New Year’s Eve, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Joseph Chandler, 62, of Minot, was injured outside his home when a reloadable fireworks mortar exploded in his hand, according to a news release. Chandler lost a thumb and finger. Fire investigators say he likely loaded the fireworks shell backwards. Chandler was being treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

The second man, 23-year-old Kiel Larson of Milo, also suffered a serious hand injury in a similar incident at a friend’s house, when a reloadable mortar exploded in his hand. Larson was being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said consumers need to closely follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions when using fireworks, and all fireworks purchased in Maine come with those guidelines. Thomas said alcohol and fireworks can be a dangerous combination, and consumers intending to shoot off fireworks should abstain from drinking.

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303, or at:

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