East Haven man injured by fireworks at vacant school, now stable; 911 tapes released

EAST HAVEN - The man severely injured by a firework Monday afternoon, continues to recover in a hospital.

The explosion which occurred outside of a former East Haven elementary school Monday afternoon, resulted in serious injuries to the left hand of James Bassett, 29, of East Haven, who was supervising a crew cleaning up the grounds of the former DC Moore School.

Following what was a several hour surgery, Bassett was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon, according to East Haven Police Department.

A source tells FOX61 that investigators found quite a few expended fireworks on the property of the former school, which was flooded with emergency responders just after 1 p.m. Monday. The firework is responsible for damaging both of Bassett's hands and stomach.

"We just heard a big explosion and he has no hand," a caller to 911 told the dispatcher.

Jimmy Bassett’s father, who asked for privacy, told FOX61 his son is a fine young man.

On one of the 911 calls, a dispatcher asks, "How did he blow his hand off?"

"I don’t know," said the caller. "We just heard a big bang."

Bassett’s father said his son bent over to pick up what he thought was a piece of trash and that’s when there was an explosion.

But, the source said the victim likely ignited the firework by lighting it. That remains under investigation.

Authorities insist the public is safe and that the grounds have been combed thoroughly to make sure there are no additional fireworks. The Fire Marshal's office continues its investigation into who brought the fireworks here.