2 boys badly burned, firecracker to blame

There’s a burn the size of a quarter on a little boy’s left cheek and deputies say an illegal firecracker is to blame.

A complete stranger heard fireworks followed by screams for help moments before making this frantic 911 call. 

The caller told police "I got 2 kids in the car who have been playing with firecrackers. One had their hand almost blown off. I’m on my way to the hospital. I’ve got my flashers on. I just need police or someone to meet me a the hospital.  Please. Please. Please."

7-year-old Philant Butler and his 8-year-old friend sat in the back of Gladena Rutland’s car, bleeding and scared. 

Flagler County Sheriffs Deputies say the two were in the bathroom at Dr. Carver Park playing with fireworks and a lighter.  “My friend found it. He had lit it and it blew up in my friend hand,” said Butler. 

Sheriff Rick Staly says the boys told deputies they have found the fireworks, but that’s still under investigation.

Along with the injury to his face, Butler injured his right hand and investigators say he also has a burn on his chest.  And as bad the burn on his cheek looks, the woman who helped the boys said she told the 911 dispatcher that other little guy was in worse shape.  

“I seen the kids yelling ‘momma momma momma’ and I look and his hand was hanging off and I made him get in my car.” 

The sheriff wouldn’t confirm the extent of that child’s injuries, only saying that it will change the boy’s life.  Right now, he says deputies are trying to figure out how the kids found themselves alone in the park with illegal fireworks and a lighter. 

“Obviously you’re curious as to where the parents are and what kids are doing running around a community center, a community park with no parental guidance,” said Sheriff Staly.

Butler is home. The 8-year-old boy is still at the hospital recovering from the injuries to his hand.