SIMI VALLEY ( — A 10-year-old boy is opening up for the first time about the horrific Fourth of July fireworks mishap that left him and many others injured in Simi Valley.

Eric Toth and his 10-year-old son, Austin, were among the approximately 10,000 people who had gathered at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park for the fireworks display.

Shortly after 9 p.m., two minutes into the show, several of the fireworks misfired into the crowd.

“He yelled, ‘I’m hit!'” Eric said.

Twenty-eight people were injured, 20 of whom were taken to hospitals, police reported. Four of those transported suffered moderate injuries, such as broken bones and shrapnel wounds, and 16 sustained minor injuries.

Austin suffered second- and third-degree burns from flaming shrapnel lodged in his legs.

“A couple fireworks went up and all exploded, I thought it was part of the show, but then I heard people screaming, so I got up and tried to get behind the chair, but I got hit,” Austin said.

Fortunately, an off-duty paramedic was seated close to the Toth family and rushed over to help the boy.

“He instantly grabbed water bottles and put water on him, and told people with ice chests to bring over ice,” Eric said.

“People screaming, people running…I was scared,” Austin said.

Austin has an appointment with a plastic surgeon this week to see if he will need skin grafts.

A preliminary investigation has revealed at least one firework detonated prematurely.

Ventura County Fire, the Simi Valley Police Department and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the accident.


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