Man lighting New Year's eve fireworks on the beach near Minerva Road approach has right hand blown off

Locator map, Minerva Road, Daytona Berach Shores, FL, man's hand blown off / Headline Surfer®Fireworks blood in sand in fireworks explosion / WESH TV photo / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® graphic /
The arrow in the locator map shows the location on the beach near Minerva Road in Daytona Beach Shores where a man's right hand was blown off while lighting fireworks on the beach on New Year's eve.
In the inset, a still image from a WESH-TV Orlando video shows a blood-soaked stain in the sand where victim Gene Hartwell blew off his right hand.

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- A 35-year-old man rang in the new year by completely blowing off his right hand while loading fireworks in a canister on the beach near Minerva Road in Daytona Beach Shores, according to multiple media reports.

The victim, Gene Hartwell, and his toddler daughter were covered in blood when he ran to his nearby home with her to have his wife call 9-1-1.

Hartwell was subsequently rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center where he received medical attention. The hospital did note release information Friday on Hartwell's condition. WESH Channel 2 News had a still image of the man's blood soaked into the sand.

According to WESH's Clare Metz, attempts by the Volusia County Beach Patrol to try and recover the man's severed hand were unsuccessful. All that was left were fragments in the blood-stained sand.

According to an incident report that WESH got from the Beach Patrol, 35-year-old Gene Hartwell was filling a PVC pipe with powder from other fireworks when it exploded.

Bystanders said they didn't see Hartwell because it was pitch black on the beach, but heard the explosion and the unmistakeable sounds of human wailing.

"Horrific. It was just a really loud scream. I've never heard someone scream like that," Braydn Smith told WESH's Metz.

Lighting off fireworks on the beach is against the law, but thousands of locals do it any way during holidays like New Years and Fourth of July.

Attempts by Headline Surfer® to reach Volusia County beach safety officials regarding the fireworks explosion that resulted in the victim's right hand being blown off were unsuccessful.

The internet newspaper then sent an email Friday to Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron seeking a copy of the incident report after having no luck getting it from the Beach Patrol, but the email went unanswered.

Headline Surfer® fired off a second email to County Manager Jim Dinneen overnight, saying the internet newspaper was tired of being excluded from breaking news developments and wants him to address it.

Attempts by Headline Surfer® to reach Volusia County beach safety officials regarding the fireworks explosion that resulted in the victim's right hand being blown off were unsuccessful. The internet newspaper then sent an email Friday to Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron seeking a copy of the incident report after having no luck getting it from the Beach Patrol, but the email went unanswered. Headline Surfer® fired off a second email to County Manager Jim Dinneen overnight, saying the internet newspaper was tired of being excluded from breaking news developments and wants him to address it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Headline Surfer® was finally able to officially confirm the incident through the Volusia County Sheriff's Office via an email reply from Andrew Gant, an agency spokesman who went above and beyond in getting the internet newspaper information it had on the incident during the early overnight hours as follows:

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.