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Friday, January 7, 2005



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ROD ANTONE / RANTONE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Explosives detonated early New Year's Day shot a hole through the left hand of Cydnee Somera, who talked yesterday about the incident from a Kaiser Moanalua hospital bed.




Fireworks victim
recalls pain of blast

The 11-year-old girl was a bystander
when she was hit by debris

Eleven-year-old Cydnee Somera thought her left hand was gone.

"Her hand was covered with blood, and I couldn't even see the damage," said her mother Tanya, sobbing. "She had told me she thought her hand came off."

Shortly after midnight on New Year's Day, while Cydnee and other children played with firecrackers in Aiea, someone lit something in a bucket in the middle of the street.

Flying debris struck cars, breaking windows and puncturing tires. Cydnee reacted to the massive explosion by shielding her face with her left hand, which was struck by something with so much force that it broke three wrist bones.

Since that early morning explosion, Cydnee has undergone three operations and faces another surgery next week. Her mother says Cydnee faces possible permanent nerve damage to her pinkie and ring finger. She also suffered a damaged joint in her thumb, along with damage to most of her finger tendons.

"Maybe she wouldn't be with us if she didn't do what she did, and it could have been a whole lot worse" had she not covered her face, her father, Sidney, said yesterday.




art
ROD ANTONE / RANTONE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Cydnee Somera, 11, whose left hand was injured by fireworks early New Year's Day, was comforted yesterday in Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center by her father, Sidney.




Police said the explosion -- possibly a homemade bomb or an illegal aerial that detonated on the ground -- was powerful enough to damage four vehicles parked nearby, one of which Cydnee had been standing behind.

The device itself had been placed in the bucket, which had been weighed down with sand and a weightlifting plate.

Though Cydnee did not get a good look at those lighting what was in the bucket, she said she noticed that they lit it from a distance, using a pole.

"I'm so mad at them," said a tearful Cydnee from her bed at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center. "I don't deserve this."

Cydnee is expected to be released from Kaiser this weekend but must return for next week's surgery.

Like many other children on New Year's Eve, Cydnee had been playing with legal fireworks. Her mother said the family traveled to Aiea that night because they wanted to do something instead of staying home in Ewa Beach.

Now, the family wants help finding the people who injured Cydnee.

"I'd ask other parents ... if they have children, put themselves in my place," said Sidney. "I have a little girl up there who is very scared, and so are her parents.

"If they could just call and help out with the investigation ... see to it that this doesn't happen to someone else again."

Police and Fire Department officials are asking for any witnesses who can identify the young adult males who were seen before the explosion and are suspected of lighting the device.

"If things were different, she easily could have been dead or her face marred for life," CrimeStoppers Detective Letha DeCaires said.

DeCaires said the case is being investigated as first-degree criminal property damage, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

This holiday season, there was a 56 percent increase in fireworks complaints since last year, with 949 calls for fireworks violations reported between Dec. 26 and last Sunday, compared with 569 complaints during the same time period last year.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Eric Yiu directly at 529-3071. Calls may also be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or by dialing *CRIME on a cellular phone.



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