Philadelphia

Girl Suffers ‘Life-Altering’ Injuries After Playing With Explosive Device Inside Kensington Home

The girl was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital where she is currently listed in critical condition

What to Know

  • A 9-year-old girl is in critical condition after playing with an explosive device inside her home in Kensington.
  • Police said the girl's father bought the device from a man off the street Saturday, believing it was a firework.
  • Police said charges may be filed against the father and the man who sold the device to him.

A girl is fighting for her life and an investigation is underway after the child was playing with an explosive device that went off inside her home in Kensington.

Investigators said the 9-year-old girl's father bought what he believed were fireworks from an unidentified man on the street Saturday night. One of the devices exploded without causing any injury. The father placed the second device on a mantle inside his home on the 1800 block of East Wishart Street, police said.

On Sunday, around 10:30 a.m., the girl and her younger sister were alone inside the house while their mother was out at a store, according to investigators. The 9-year-old girl found the device and began playing with it. The device then exploded, injuring the girl's hands, chest, torso, face and eyes. 

The girl was taken to St. Christopher's Hospital where she remains in critical condition. While the girl is expected to live, police described her injuries as "life-altering."

Police initially described the device as a firework. On Monday, Tim Brooks, a Philadelphia police detective with the bomb squad as well as a bomb technician, said the device the girl had was not an actual firework however.

"They're not legally purchased, manufactured or sold in the United States," Brooks said. "It's a violation of both federal and state law to possess them."

Brooks described the device as highly sensitive and investigators don't believe the girl actually lit it. 

"The fuse that's on them, some of them are instantaneous, meaning the second a flame comes in contact with that, they'll detonate," Brooks said. "You can take these and throw them in a tub of water and they're still going to go off once that fuse is lit."

Brooks said the device that exploded could have had up to 100 grams of explosive powder inside in comparison to consumer fireworks that normally have up to 50 milligrams."

Police did not name the specific device but said it's known as "dynamite" on the street though it's technically not actual dynamite. They also said the same device was involved in explosions that injured two other children in the area earlier this year.

No arrests have been made as of yet though police said the girl's father may end up being charged with endangering the welfare of a child, recklessly endangering another person and risking a catastrophe. They're also searching for the man who sold the device.

Police also advised people to not play with fireworks or explosive devices.

"Let the professionals handle the fireworks," Philadelphia Police Capt. Mark Burgmann said. "They're not stable. You don't know when it's going to go off. Just let the professionals do it."

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