Most injuries and deaths from fireworks in the U.S. happen around the 4th of July holiday.
Although explosive-style fireworks are illegal in Georgia, they usually make their way across the river and can be a danger in the wrong hands.
One Columbus family was still cooling off Friday morning after spending the night in the emergency room.
"I just remember a hiss and then it went boom! I looked and everything started ringing," 18 year-old William Harris recalled.
Burned and bruised, Harris got the scare of his life Thursday while celebrating Independence Day.
Harris said he went to Booker T. Washington Apartments to play with fireworks when a playful moment turned serious.
"These little kids came around, and we were talking and playing. I made sure it was turned the right way but somehow it got turned around; instead of shooting up in the air, I lit it with a lighter, and it just backfired and it went boom," Harris said.
In 2013, six people died from improper firework use and more than 11,000 ended up in the emergency room. In this case, it was a Festival Ball that left Harris with 1st and 2nd degree burns.
"It was burning. It felt like somebody got a lighter and held It at my hand and at my side," Harris explained.
Harris was holding the firecracker in his hand, which he said he knew was not safe. The firecracker packaging also warns users not to hold the explosive.
Harris said the pain from the open wounds on his stomach, neck, wrist and blisters on his hands was excruciating.
With hopes of one day playing professional basketball, Harris said he thought he would lose his right hand after the blast.
"For real, I need my hands the most. I'm not worried about nothing else but my hands. I got to dribble the ball. I'm really worried about this blister on this finger. I don't want to pop it," Harris demonstrated.
His mother, Eva Robinson, has worked as a trauma nurse for 20 years. She said she always warned her sons about the dangers of fireworks.
"That firecracker could've blown up in his face, He could've lost his eye. It's Fourth of July and we could've been planning a funeral," Robinson said.
Here are some tips Firework safety tips to keep in mind:
· Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
· Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
· Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
· Never relight a "dud" firework.
Fortunately, Harris will be okay. His mother said he will probably have a few scares left and aftershock to deal with. He said he was having nightmares from the incident but looked at it as a reality check... that hurt really bad.