Teen’s thumb left ‘hanging by a thread’ after £25 firework explodes in his hand

WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Rio Diveney, 16, says he was lucky not to lose his hand after a firework he was holding exploded and left his thumb hanging off

Rio was left with his thumb hanging off after a firework exploded in his hand
Rio was left with his thumb hanging off after a firework exploded in his hand

A teenager’s thumb was left hanging by a thread and he suffered horror burns after a powerful firework exploded in his hand.

Rio Diveney, 16, needed pins inserted into his thumb, before it was stitched back onto his hand with medics saying he was lucky not to suffer life changing injuries.

His entire hand was split down the middle after he ignited the gunpowder contained in the £25 rocket, reported the Manchester Evening News.

He also suffered serious burns to his chest, arms and abdomen and after being taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital by the mother of one of his friends, he was later transferred to Wythenshawe Burns Unit.

The horror unfolded in Oldham after Rio’s friends had retrieved a rocket that had failed to explode.

Rio’s clothes were ripped from the force of the explosion from the fireworks



Dad Ricky, 37, said: “They had taken the rocket apart with the gunpowder out of it and Rio’s gone down there and decided to light it.

“But it exploded immediately, damaging his hand and ruining his clothes.”

Ricky added: “The doctors said he was lucky his hand wasn’t blown completely off, the firework was that powerful.”

Rio has spoken about his ordeal as part of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) “Bang Out of Order” campaign.

Rio said: “One of my friends said he had this firework, he brought it outside, I thought it was just a normal firework. I took it to the corner of the street went to light it and it just blew up, it didn’t make the normal noise a firework would.”


And Rio, a keen footballer who plays as a winger for Tameside Sunday League team Manor FC, sent out a powerful message to other young people and children: “I’ve learnt that if someone offers you a firework, don’t take it. Think about what can actually happen.

“As a family, we don’t normally have our own fireworks, we attend organised displays. I will never mess with fireworks again.

“I’ve been very lucky, I could’ve lost my hand completely, or the use of it, but I have been told I will regain the full use of it.”

Medics said that Rio was lucky not to lose his hand when the powerful firework exploded



Rio recently became a joinery apprenticeship and is hoping to return to work and play football as soon as possible.

The teenager is undergoing weeks of physiotherapy before he will get full use of his hand back and is currently unable to attend college as part of the apprenticeship.

Rio added: “I can’t do things – my dad has to help me do everything. I am right-handed, it’s stopped me from doing most things. I have been very lucky, doctors have said I could’ve lost my first finger, my thumb, they said it could have been my face. It could have been my heart where my stitches were – it could’ve been a lot worse than it was.

“If anyone brings you a firework, just think twice and say no because this is what can happen.”

Rio was transferred to the burns unit at Wythenshawe hospital



The incident comes as the public are being urged to stay safe on Bonfire Night.

People are advised to go to organised firework displays but if they are having fireworks at home, buy them from a licensed retailer.

Val Hussain, GMFRS group manager for Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, said: “Every year we see a number of people, including children, injured through the misuse of fireworks and sadly we have seen it happen again in recent weeks.

“Our advice would be, if possible, go to an organised bonfire and fireworks display, and if you are doing this, please don’t forget to keep up with all the COVID-19 measures. If you are going to use fireworks at home, then please follow the firework code and that starts with making sure the fireworks have the CE standard mark on them.

“Fireworks can be enjoyable but can also be extremely dangerous if not used correctly.”

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