Updated 07/05/13 – 3:21 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Two sisters in law were seriously hurt Thursday night during an illegal fireworks display at a park on the Southwest Side. At least seven others were hospitalized in other fireworks accidents across the city.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the women told police they were sitting in West Lawn Park at 65th Street and Keeler Avenue around 11 p.m. Thursday, when they saw a bright light flying toward them.
It was a fireworks shell that exploded at their feet, severing Kristina Perez’s left foot, and badly burning her right foot.
Her sister-in-law, Lorena Perez, also suffered severe burns on her left leg.
Both were being treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Fabian Carmona, who is Lorena Perez’s brother recalled the chaos: “I remember seeing like a ball of fire coming straight at us. I didn’t have no time to warn anybody. My reaction was to jump off my chair and move.”
Carmona told CBS 2’s Mai Martinez that he managed to get out of the way, but the fireball hit Lorena Perez and her sister-in-law, Kristina.
‘The explosion happened right where they were at,” said Carmona.
“I saw her on the floor and it was so dark, I didn’t know it was her.”
“I was like was ‘are you OK?’ And she was like, ‘My legs are on fire. My legs are on fire.’
“And I’m like, ‘No, no you’re fine,’ and she kept putting mud on herself because she kept thinking her legs were on fire.”
Fire Department officials said they responded to several fireworks accidents on July 3 and 4, taking a total of nine people to hospitals, including Kristina and Lorena Perez.
A Fire Department spokesman noted others hurt by fireworks might have gone to hospitals on their own.
In addition to the injuries, the soccer complex in Lincoln Park was damaged, either by fireworks or charcoal from a grill, CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot reports.
Luka Rebic and friend Zack Ortlieb, play on the Lincoln Park artificial turf field each day during the summer.
On Friday, about 30 feet of the turf was left charred.
It’s not known if barbecue coals or fireworks left the artificial turf burned, but to father Nebojsa Rebic, one thing is clear.
“It doesn’t exhibit normal civilized behavior at all. I couldn’t call it patriotic feeling, this is more about vandalism than about patriotism.”