The New York Fire Department confirmed Sunday a man had a "partial amputation" shortly before 11 a.m. in Central Park following some kind of explosion, Gothamist reported.
While authorities believe the detonation was likely due to a fireworks accident, with several witnesses from the scene tweeting as such, authorities closed off the area where the explosion occurred and have a bomb squad investigating.
The incident certainly looks like no laughing matter.
"I saw his friends standing there panicking," John Murphy, who was a witness, told the New York Daily News. "I saw the young man laying on the grass. His foot is all but gone. His friends claimed he was walking down the rocks and he stepped on it. It looks like there was an explosion."
As the New York Times reported Friday, annual fireworks displays on the Fourth of July regularly result in thousands of injuries ranging from the minor to mutilation and death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates "230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday."
According to USA Today, New York state bans most types of fireworks other than ground-based or handheld sparklers, party poppers and snappers, hardly the kinds of explosives that could have set off the blast in Central Park. Restrictions in New York City proper are some of the tightest in the country, due in large part to the fear the urban center's density precludes the possibility of setting the devices off at a safe distance. Nationally, fireworks laws vary dramatically — since the 1930s and 1940s, many states have enacted strict fireworks laws for fear of citizens injuring themselves and others in explosions.