Rigby boy’s hand severed in grenade blast

A 14-year-old boy lost a hand Wednesday when he picked up an explosive device he and a friend found behind a granary on his family’s Rigby property.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mickey Eames said the device exploded in the boy’s hand at about 4:30 p.m. The victim’s mother heard a loud noise. When the victim and his friend ran into the house, the boy’s mother called 911. The friend also was injured in the blast.

Authorities identified the device as a “flash-bang grenade,” which is an explosive-distraction device regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Foster said the item is not available to civilians and was discontinued years ago.

The boy with the severed hand was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and later moved to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. The boy’s friend was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center by ambulance, where he was treated for burns and cuts. He was released later that night, Eames said.

Eames said the severely injured boy remained at Primary Children’s Hospital on Thursday. She didn’t have an update on his condition.

Members of the Idaho Falls Regional Bomb Squad checked the area where the boys found the grenade to make sure no other explosive devices were in the area. Lt. Kevin Casper of the bomb squad said the device was all-to-familiar to the responding officers.

“We used to use similar devices with the (Bonneville County) SWAT Team,” Casper said. “We quit using it around 2004 because the industry was giving warnings that it was dangerous.”

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies are trying to determine how the explosive device came to be on the property, Eames said.

Casper said if you come across an explosive device, do not handle it, and contact local law enforcement immediately.

Reporter Ali Tadayon can be reached at 542-6746.