FORT MYERS, Fla. — “Why not let other people learn from my stupid mistakes?”
That’s the motto of one Iona McGregor Battalion Chief who uses his lessons as a teaching moment.
“I was glad I wasn’t permanently disfigured,” Marc Mascarelli said.
He’s recalling the time fireworks blew up in his face. This happened many years ago.
Mascarelli was just a 13-year-old boy living in New York when he did something he now tells kids never to do … play with fireworks without supervision.
“Me and a friend went out and picked up all the duds,” Mascarelli said. “And you don’t know where they’re made and how old they are. Sometimes they can go off quicker than they’re supposed to or not go off at all … you walk back up to them and boom it goes off in your face which is what happened to me.”
The 30-year-old firefighter says at the time he didn’t really know what happened … until things slowly started setting in.
“I just remember this warm puff of air just went over my face like a swoosh and then next thing you know I tried to open my eyes, couldn’t see anything, everything was blurry … All of my hair was just falling out, the smell of burnt hair and skin. Then the pain started to slowly set in, that’s when I realized I did something pretty bad.”
All the kids involved in the stunt had major burns. Mascarelli was hospitalized for a week and had long-term impacts for a full year.
He shares this story as a warning. This could happen to you or your kids anytime fireworks are around.
“I’ve actually brought my photographs and shown kids what can happen when you play with fire and that’s probably the strongest message to get out of it: fire is not our friend,” said Mascarelli.