Fireworks explode in hands of men trying to protect kids in Queens

MANHASSET, Long Island (WABC) -- Two construction workers in Queens were trying to be good Samaritans and get illegal explosives out of the hands of kids when they blew up in their hands.

The men could have lost their lives, but now they are worried they may have lost their livelihoods.

Gregory Jean shook uncontrollably and nearly fainted during his interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

Tears of regret and disbelief rolled down his cheeks.

"I'm crying every second man, crying every second," he said.

The Nassau County man and his construction worker colleague were at a barbecue Friday night in Jamaica, Queens.

His friend says he was trying to take fireworks away from kids when Jean came over to help.

"Another bystander came around and kind of lit the firecracker," Jean said. "I don't play with fireworks man, so in the midst of trying to help somebody else out I ruined my own life."

Jean says he was holding one of those fireworks above his head when it exploded. The blast was so powerful, it fractured a bone in his foot.

Dr. Syed Sayeed is the plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Manhasset who operated on them.

"The energy of this blast, it pulls the fingers off," Sayeed said. "So this pulled so hard you have a tendon that's stripped from the forearm, pulled out completely."

Sayeed said he lost the top of his ring finger on his other hand.

"If you think of a chicken leg, how you open a chicken leg and thigh, this is exactly going right into the joint," Sayeed said. "It's real ammunition. And this is what people are getting their hands on."

Sayeed says it will take months to recover.

"It's a possibility that they may not be able to have full grasp of their hand," Sayeed said. "The gentleman who lost his pinky loses a big portion of his ability to grasp."

"Oh man I'm just praying to God I can, every bone in my body gets better, so I can get back to work," Jean said.

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