FOUNTAIN VALLEY : Victim of Cannon Explosion Critical

A 30-year-old man remained in critical condition Thursday after his legs and right arm were surgically amputated because of injuries suffered when a Civil War-era cannon exploded as he tried to fire it on New Year's Eve.

William R. Batman of Westminster remained at UCI Medical Center in Orange where he was operated on after the Tuesday night incident.

Batman's 30-year-old girlfriend suffered minor abrasions, and pieces of metal struck her son's lower back. Their names and conditions were not available.

The explosion happened just before 10:30 p.m. in the back yard of a house in the 9000 block of Jasmine Avenue in Fountain Valley. The cannon belongs to a friend who displays it as an antique.

Fire officials said Batman stuffed 1 1/2 cups of gunpowder into the 3-foot-long cannon and packed it with toilet paper. Police said Batman fired the antique a second time after his first firing attempt failed.

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