A Sterling man was hospitalized after fireworks he and a friend were lighting in Plainfield exploded Thursday evening, police said.
Damon Luberto, 34, was hit by a piece of shrapnel in the chest after bottle rockets he and his friend, Eric Bergeron, 36, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, launched in an "umbrella holder" malfunctioned and exploded as they ran for cover in a nearby treeline, police said.
The men lit the 4-inch wick for the bottle rockets 50 yards from a home at 4 Picket Road and the explosion happened once they reached the treeline and turned around, police said. Police and an American Legion Ambulance Crew responded at 6:38 p.m. on July 3.
Luberto was transported to William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich where police said he was treated in the intensive care unit for chest injuries.
Plainfield police continue to investigate the incident.
With the 4th of July holiday underway, police caution residents against lighting personal fireworks.
"The Plainfield Police Department would also like to remind members of the community that fireworks are illegal in the state of Connecticut unless under the supervision of a licensed professional," police said in the news release.