LONGVIEW, Wash. — Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of an injury that some may find disturbing.
People across Southwest Washington have donated thousands of dollars to help a man experiencing homelessness who lost his hand in an explosion when a homemade firework was thrown in his direction.
Ron Turnboo told KGW it happened around midnight on New Year's Day. He was about to go to sleep near Vandercook Way and 9th Avenue in Longview.
"Then this guy threw [something], and it was lit. When it was lit, I made the mistake of picking it up and it blew off my hand," Turnboo said. "I didn’t know it was a pipe bomb until my hand exploded and my fingers were literally hanging from my hand."
Longview police said it was a tennis ball full of explosives.
After he was hit, Turnboo said he ran to the nearest hospital, St. John Medical Center, which was more than one mile away. From there, he was rushed to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland where his hand had to be amputated.
Early Sunday morning, Longview police arrested a 25-year-old man and charged him with second-degree assault for throwing the explosive.
Though heartbroken over the incident and the way he was treated, Turboo said he is trying to stay positive.
"I'm still alive. I can still function. If I need anything, hey, I'm able to do it with one hand," he said. "It could have been somebody else. If I stayed in the area, over where I was and he threw another, that would've been it."
Mandie Hart started a GoFundMe for Turnboo.
"I first heard Ron's story and the details about what happened on Facebook. Somebody made a post, saying someone had been attacked," Hart said. "Just knowing that he's going to have such a road to recovery afterward and being homeless and dealing with that at the same time, it's just going to be probably impossible."
Hart does not know Turnboo, but she felt compelled to help.
"I just knew we had to act immediately and get some funds coming in, make some networking happen," she said.
With Turnboo currently staying in temporary housing, they are working towards a long-term plan and figuring out the next steps so he can get back on his feet and eventually into permanent housing.