Two boys were injured and one lost a hand after a device exploded in an alley in Oxford on Tuesday night, which renewed warnings about caution around devices that could be explosive.
Police and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad were on the scene Wednesday morning trying to determine exactly what injured the two boys.
At about 7:45 p.m., Tuesday, Oxford police and fire units were dispatched to 131 E. Withrow St. for traumatic injuries to a 12-year-old male. After police and fire arrived, it was learned that there were two 12-year-old boys who were injured from an explosion.
Specialist Mike Grimes, commander of the bomb squad, said the explosion was caused by a modified pyrotechnic device that one of the boys ignited.
“This was not your everyday Black Cat firecracker or lady finger, it had been modified,” Grimes said.
He added if anyone finds a device with a fuse, “call 911. Do not light it, we will come out and take a look.”
Officials are continuing to investigate where the device came from and how it got to a location in the alley.
One boy, who was seriously injured, was flown by helicopter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The other boy sustained minor injuries, was treated at McCullough-Hyde Hospital and later transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, according to Oxford police.
Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli said in past years the department has seen some pop bottle bombs, but he did not remember any modified devices in recent years.
“But with the amount of fireworks around the Fourth of July people need to be make sure they are following the law and not letting them get into unsupervised hands,” Lolli said.
Multiple 911 calls were made from the Oxford scene, which is the location of the Delta Chi fraternity house near the Miami University campus. A male caller said there was a loud bang and there was a young child “with blood all over him.”
He said he and others, including nurses from McCullough-Hyde Hospital, were with the boy.
Another woman sobbed, screaming, “no, no.”
She said, “a child has been badly injured.”
Oxford Police Officer Adam Price responded to the scene to assist medical units for a juvenile who had suffered trauma to the hand. Price found the boy being attended to by a nurse from the hospital and two males in the alley. He had lost a hand, according to the police report.
The nurse asked the officer for a tourniquet because she had made one out of a shirt. Price gave the nurse the tourniquet he carried on is service belt.
A second patient was already at the hospital and “said something about there was a cardboard box in the alley and that the boys said it blew up when the hit it with their bikes,” the officer said in the report.
Investigators have determined that is not what happened because there was no damage to the bikes.
Oxford police Lt. Lara Fening said detectives are still investigating how the device got into the alley, but she has no reason to believe there is any risk to public safety.