DEERWOOD — If you ask brothers Nash and Luke Glomski — who were injured Sept. 14 in an explosion in which 13-year-old Nash had his hand blown off and 12-year-old Luke was hit by shrapnel and lost partial vision in his left eye — how they’re doing, they’ll tell you: “We’re living.”
Many would say Nash and Luke of Deerwood are lucky to be alive after being involved in an explosion where mortar fireworks went off in Nash’s hand. Two explosive devices, including mortar fireworks were found at the scene of the explosion by the Crow Wing County Bomb Squad. One of the devices had exploded and the other one was intact and removed for storage with the bomb squad.
The boys are home and healing from their injuries, but they have a long road ahead of them. Luke started school Monday. Nash will be home-schooled and won’t be able to return to school until all the pins in his wrist and hand are taken out and he no longer has to take his pain medications.
The brothers, who are into building BMX bikes from scraps, had some time before supper the day the accident took place. They decided to bike down to the recycling site on city property near the maintenance building on Broadway, about four blocks from their home, to see what type of scraps they could find for their bikes.
“We found something that was like an onion,” said Nash. “It was in a dirt patch. I picked it up and it went kaboom.”
“I was about 1 1/2 feet away from Nash when he picked it up,” said Luke. “I got all the burns and shrapnel. I could see all the colors of yellow, red, blue and bright white. It was loud. I have friends in Crosby who heard it.
“We were running from house to house knocking on doors.”
Nash said, “I couldn’t feel anything, no pain. It was the adrenalin.
“I thought we’re dead and we’re not going to make it.”
Luke said, “I didn’t feel anything until I got to the hospital. Then it hurt and I cried as the blood came running down my face. When we got to the hospital I thought we had a 50-50 chance of survival and when we got to the bigger hospital then I thought we had a 75-25 percent chance.”
The boys’ father, Mike Glomski, was in his garage at the time of the explosion. He said he heard a loud bang, but didn’t know what it was. He said then a person he didn’t know drove up and said, “Did you know that your son’s hand was (explicit) blown off?”
“I was frantic,” said Glomski. “I felt bad that I didn’t go running when I heard the big bang, but you never think stuff like this will happened.”
Glomski said a family friend, David DiMartino, Deerwood, found the boys and brought them to Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby.
DiMartino said when he heard the bomb go off, he jumped in his car and found the two boys on the road, walking away from the site where it happened.
“When I looked, Nash’s hand was blown off and I saw the bone,” said DiMartino. “I looked over and saw that Luke was crying and had blood all over him and his hand was burnt. I immediately checked to see if they were bleeding and I rushed them to hospital.”
DiMartino, who is an emergency medical technician and first responder, but is not currently active, said he ordered a helicopter because he knew the boys would have to be airlifted to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Glomski said when he walked into the hospital all he could smell was fireworks and gun powder.
“When I walked into the hospital I didn’t know what to think,” said Glomski. “Nash was calm, as cool as can be.”
Glomski said Nash broke both bones in his left hand and wrist, his fingers were dislodged and the blood vessels in his hand were destroyed. Glomski said the explosion blew off the skin and muscles and Nash cannot move his fingers.
“His whole hand will be a scar,” said Glomski. “He has more than 100 stitches and most have been taken out already.
“He only has some of his thumb left. The doctors are reconstructing it and doing bone lengthening surgery. He has to do therapy every two hours with his wrist and fingers.”
Glomski said Luke has some permanent eye loss in his left eye. He suffered third-degree burns from the black powder to his arm, eye lashes and brows and hair. He had to have stitches on his lips and forehead. Glomski said Luke had a one-inch cardboard shrapnel that was lodged in his cheeks that had to be removed.
Glomski said with everything that is going on, what is on their minds is how the incident happened.
“We still don’t know what happened,” said Glomski. “The last time there were fireworks in town was Deerwood Summerfest, which was held Aug. 14 ... We don’t know how it happened. There is a lot of the blame game going on.”
The Deerwood Police Department is investigating the case, and Thursday said there was nothing new to report.
Glomski said a fund has been set up to help with the boys’ medical expenses. People may donate to the Nash and Luke Glomski benefit Account at First National Bank in Deerwood.
Glomski said he is glad that his sons have a positive outlook on life for what they have endured in the past three weeks.
Nash said, “From now on we’re going to order parts out of the catalog.”