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ST. CHARLES, Mo. - A St. Charles man is fighting for his life after an accidental fireworks explosion.

The man, whose name hasn't been officially released, was using a weed eater in his yard on Saturday afternoon when he hit what he believed was a spent fireworks shell. The shell exploded when the man picked it up.

A family member says the man is being treated at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis after being airlifted from St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles. The man lost most of one of his hands, had internal bleeding, and on Monday was heavily sedated and on a breathing machine.

Neighbors tell NewsChannel 5 fireworks were being launched from a parking lot behind the man's house on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Greg Woodson says he was inside his home Saturday afternoon when he heard what he described as the loudest explosion he's ever heard.

"I thought it was the neighborhood kids again so I went outside to tell them to knock it off and go home," said Woodson. "I saw smoke coming from behind the garage of the neighbor's house and I heard a man moaning and I heard him say he blew his fingers off. So I went down the alley to his house and I found him lying across the sidewalk bleeding pretty good and he was missing quite a few fingers off one hand."

Woodson is upset about the injuries to his neighbor, but also that someone would use large fireworks in a residential area.

"The general public shouldn't handle large explosive items," said Woodson. "They're not trained for it, they don't know what they're capable of and really they shouldn't be fired off in a residential neighborhood like that."

St. Charles Fire Captain Dan Casey says anyone who finds fireworks debris in their yard should be extremely careful. Small fireworks should be soaked with a garden hose before they're moved. And homeowners should call their fire department if they find a large, unexploded shell.

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