4-year-old girl’s vision loss likely permanent after fireworks injury


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A four-year-old girl is suffering from what her doctors are now calling permanent vision loss after she was hit in the eye by a fireworks display on July 4.

“His damage is permanent. Nothing can fix it, unfortunately. His doctor said it was up to God if his vision would come back,” said his mother Abbie Harkins.

Scarlett Harkins, 4, and the rest of her family stood in a crowded W Valley Ave parking lot in Homewood on July 4, waiting to watch Thunder on the Mountain. But, Mom says, before the big show, people started lighting their own fireworks. That’s when her daughter, Scarlett, was punched in the face. The colorful flame from the fireworks hit the windshield of their truck and landed on Scarlett, who was sitting in the back with other young children.

“My twins are two, they were in the back seat with her. It could have been them too. We literally had a truck full of kids,” Harkins cried.

“It explodes in my eyes,” Scarlett, 4, explained in an interview. “Do you see that thing on my eye? See this thing.

Scarlett tugged at her bloody and bruised left eye.

“She can’t see with her eyes. She can’t see,” her mother said.

Scarlett’s parents took her to children’s hospital where she had to be sedated because of the pain. He was diagnosed with retinal hemorrhage, severe bruising, cuts and loss of vision. Doctors said they would have to wait and see if Scarlett’s vision would fully return.

But according to his most recent prognosis, that won’t be the case. Scarlett had surgery on Wednesday July 13. The doctors told mom there was nothing else they could do.

“The damage is in the center of his retina, in the area connected to his optic nerve. I am heartbroken,” Abby Harkins said. “His doctor said it was up to God if his vision would come back.”

His family took a photo of two people they believed were involved in the setting off of the fireworks.

“The one who is shorter, he had a blue thing in his hand. It was a torch. Just looking at them, he was between 13 and 16 years old,” she recalls.

Harkins said she filed a report with Homewood police.

No criminal charges had been filed at the time.

“I want them to know what they did to my baby. I want them to know the pain she is in,” Harkins said.

Harkins said she hoped people would be more careful when playing with fireworks after seeing what happened to her daughter.


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