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Holiday starts with near drownings, maiming in Suffolk

Investigators are show at the scene of a

Investigators are show at the scene of a fireworks accident in which an unidentified male lost his arm during a July 4th party on Fairview Ave. in Islip Terrace. (July 3, 2010) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Independence Day weekend got off to a dangerous start Saturday in Suffolk, where a toddler and a man nearly drowned in Selden and Ronkonkoma and a man had his arm blown off by illegal fireworks in Islip Terrace.

Doctors last night were working to reattach Eric Smith's left arm, Suffolk police said. Smith, 36, was shooting mortars from a 3-foot metal tube in the street in front of his Fairview Avenue home. "As the explosive shot out of the launcher, it struck Mr. Smith in his left arm, completely severing it from his shoulder," a police spokesman said.

The blast happened at about 5:45 p.m. "We believe he leaned over to ignite it, and didn't get out of the way in time and it blew off his left arm," the spokesman said.

Smith's family and friends packed the arm in a cooler and sent it with Smith to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where Smith was in serious condition, police said.

In Selden, the toddler, 2, was pulled out of a pool on Salem Lane by her grandfather and is expected to live, Suffolk police said.

The grandfather administered rescue breathing to the girl, who had been in the pool for several minutes when she was found at about 3:56 p.m., a police department spokesman said.

After her grandfather administered the rescue breathing, the girl coughed up water and started breathing again. She was brought to Stony Brook University Medical Center. Her condition was not known Saturday night.

In Ronkonkoma, a Brooklyn man was found unconscious in the shallow part of an in-ground pool. Rolando Villalba, 83, had been in the pool on Express Drive South for just a few minutes when he was found, his friends told police. Villalba, was brought to Smithtown's St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in critical condition.

Acting on an anonymous tip, Suffolk police also ticketed a Lindenhurst man last night for having fireworks. Henry Kuhn, 30, of North Greene Avenue, had $250 in fireworks - including multi-launch cakes, 8-ounch rockets, 2-inch mortar shells, Roman candles and sparklers - in his living room and girlfriend's car, police said.

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