CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 14-year-old boy was critically injured after a firework exploded in front of his face Thursday night in the East Side neighborhood on the Far South Side.
Family members say they were all together last night celebrating the holiday.
"We just placed it down, he went to light the firework and it just exploded," said Edwin Tevenal, the victim's uncle.
A concerned Edwin Tevenal talks about how it only took a few seconds for some holiday fun to turn tragic after a freak accident leaves his 14-year-old nephew Enrique Anaya critically injured when a firework exploded in his face.
He says he was with the teen when it happened around 8 in the evening, the day after the Fourth of July outside the southeast side home the teen shares with his family.
"There was some left over fireworks from the night before. They didn't think anything of it. We just went to the alley and we were going to blow them off. No one was doing anything different," said Tevenal.
Enrique was rushed to University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital where he remains with his mother by his side.
Enrique's family says they don't know exactly when he will get out of the hospital, but they say when he does, he has a long recovery ahead of him.
The force of the firework caused severe trauma to the right side of the teen's face.
Relatives say the eighth grader lost his right eye and will need reconstructive surgery.
His aunt says Enrique is very athletic and hopes his injuries won't dash his dreams of playing professional sports.
"He plays baseball. He's won championships. He's really good at basketball, too. He rides four wheelers. He gets good grades," said Madeline Anaya, the victim's aunt.
Friday afternoon, while the family says they're struggling with the tragedy, but grateful Enrique is still alive, his uncle says he's sworn off fireworks as he make a plea to others to stay safe.
"Don't let your kids do it. It might just be fun at the moment, but you never know when the situation's going to happen," said Tevenal.
Boy, 14, critically injured by firework in East Side