Victim Speaks Out After Fireworks Explosion Destroys Half His Face
As Taron Pounds strums his guitar, it's been a long year for him and his family.
"I couldn't tell you how good it felt to actually blink for the first time," said Taron.
With a bandage covering his left eye, and loose skin growing over his cheek, Taron has come a long way from where he was last July.
Half of Taron's face was destroyed when he lit a commercial grade firework at his cousin's wedding reception in the Tulsa area last July.
"It doesn't take much to do so much damage," he said.
Taron spent a month in a coma after the accident, his mother, Tammy remained at his side the entire time.
"It will definitely be a year I'll never forget," said Tammy.
For the last 12 months, Taron has undergone several reconstructive surgeries at OU Medical Center, although he's on his way to making a full recovery, Taron and his family hope with many more surgeries to go, their experience is a reminder of how dangerous fireworks can be.
"They're a cheap thrill," he said, "and they're not worth what I've seen them taken away from me."
Although fireworks have been part of their family celebrations for many years, Tammy says the risk isn't worth it.
"I would say do away with that, all of those, we don't need them," she said.
Oklahoma City Fire Department says with the Fourth of July in just a few days, officials remind all families that fireworks are illegal within the city limits.
Anyone caught with fireworks could face a $300 fine.
Chief Kevin Barry, head of Public Education for OKCFD, says fireworks on Independence Day should be left to the professionals.
"Please, go out and enjoy the professional displays so you can have a safe holiday," Barry emphasized.
Oklahoma State Fire Marshall, Robert Doke agrees. Although consumer fireworks are illegal in many parts of the metro, they are still legal in some areas, like Mustang. Doke says it's important for all families who include fireworks as part of their celebration to be extra careful.
"Have some buckets of water available," said Doke, "also watch the weather conditions."
Doke also advises everyone to keep their lawns short and tidy to prevent fires. He also emphasizes keeping an eye on your neighbors. Although fireworks may not be part of your holiday celebration, sparks can fly from next door or folks on the sidewalk.
Even with precautions, Taron says after what happened to him, he hopes his story will make young people think twice before they light up fireworks.
"Think about if it happens to you, think about your parents sitting there, not knowing what's going to happen," he said.
Taron still has many more surgeries to go, but knows with a team of top surgeons at his side, he's in good hands.
"I'm going to be okay," he said, "I'm going to be better than okay, I'm going to be better than I was."