Sherman teen who lost eye in firework accident warning others ahead of 4th of July

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - A Sherman teen wants his experience of losing an eye to a firework accident to serve as a warning for others about firework safety heading into the 4th of July weekend.

Chauncey Wilson, 16, was lighting an artillery shell firework last year with his family.

“It hit up under my eye,” Wilson said. “It hit at such an impact it like deflated my eye like a basketball.”

The initial spark didn’t set it off, so Wilson was lighting a shorter fuse and couldn’t get away in time, before it exploded in his face.

“It was hard. I was worried about him and his mental stability,” said Tammy Williams, Wilson’s guardian. “That’s a hard thing to go through as a sixteen year old.”

She says the family has not decided whether they’re going to celebrate the Fourth with fireworks this year, but they haven’t since Chauncey’s accident.

“He’s got his prosthetic in but one eye sits a little bit lower than the other,” Williams said. “They’re going in to fix that, plus he’s got a scar on his face that has not healed completely.”

Sherman Fire Marshal Billy Hartsfield said fireworks should have a stable base underneath, and if they don’t go off initially give it fifteen minutes before putting it in water and letting it soak overnight.

“If you have lost any fuse length, don’t light that firework,” Hartsfield said. “You should take caution with it like you’re handling a small stick of dynamite.”

Hartsfield says even handling sparklers can be dangerous, since some burn at 1,200 degrees.

For Wilson, he says he’s adjusted to seeing out of one eye even though he can’t see anything looking straight ahead out of his right side.

“For the first month, it was difficult and now it’s just normal to me,” Wilson said. “I can do everything, even drive. I just can’t join the military because they’ll count me as disabled.”

Wilson says he has not touched a firework since the accident and has no plans to.

The sale of fireworks in Denison is illegal.

In Sherman, there is a $209 fine for illegally discharging them.

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