After nearly two weeks in the hospital, a 10-year-old boy who said he nearly lost his arm in an explosion after neighbors tossed a lit firework at him on his birthday has returned home.
Aaron Carreto was playing outside his Compton apartment complex July 6 when, he said, he heard someone call his name. When he turned around, he reflexively reached out to grab an object flying toward him. Aaron then realized the object was a lit homemade firework, he said, and when he tried to get away, it exploded.
“They lit a firework and then they gave it to me,” Aaron told KABC-TV Channel 7 on Friday. “The fuse went down, I looked at it and then it popped in my hand when I was going to throw it.”
The explosion claimed four fingers and most of his palm on his left side, said Adriana Carreto, Aaron’s sister. He also lost one finger on his right side and both hands sustained burns, she said.
Aaron was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center after the attack for a series of emergency surgeries. Doctors at UC Irvine Medical Center have since stitched his left arm to his stomach in an effort to preserve his nerve and skin tissue as they reconstruct his hand, she said. They have also reattached the finger that was taken off his right hand.
Adriana Carreto, who created a GoFundMe page that had raised more than $30,000 as of Saturday afternoon for the family’s medical expenses, said there is a long recovery ahead for her brother. He has undergone four surgeries so far with one more expected in the next few weeks to detach his arm from his stomach and another surgery scheduled for a year from now.
“My parents were at the hospital day and night. They wouldn’t go home or leave his side,” she said. “Now that we’re home, both my parents sleep with him and are always right next to him.”
KABC-TV Channel 7 reported that one of the boy’s neighbors — Walter Revolorio, 27 — was arrested in connection with the incident. Online court records show Revolorio pleaded not guilty July 9 to felony charges of child cruelty and possession of a destructive device on a public street. Revolorio, who is being held on $630,000 bail, is expected in court July 29.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department could not immediately comment on the status of the investigation into a possible second suspect.
Adriana Carreto said her brother feels more comfortable now that he is home but is still wary that the second suspect is not yet in custody.
“Our family wants justice,” she said, adding that she hopes stricter firework laws will be put in place in the community.