The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office says two men were seriously injured in two separate fireworks incidents on New Year’s Eve. 

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In Minot, 62-year-old Joseph Chandler was injured outside his home when a re-loadable fireworks mortar exploded in his hand, according to Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland.  Fire investigators say Chandler had likely put the fireworks shell in backwards.

Chandler lost a thumb and finger in the explosion.  Doctors at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston performed emergency surgery late Wednesday night.

Meanwhile in Milo, 23-year-old Kiel Larson suffered a serious hand injury in a similar incident at a friend’s house on New Year's Eve, when a re-loadable fireworks mortar went off in his hand, McCausland said.  Larson was being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas urges people to closely follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions when using fireworks.  Thomas also said alcohol and fireworks can be a dangerous combination,  and those who intend to shoot off fireworks should abstain from drinking.