By Chris Collins
A 12-year-old Baker City boy who lost his right hand in a Sunday night explosion is in good condition in a Portland hospital where he will undergo a second surgery today.
Eli Wright, 12, was injured about 7 p.m. Sunday.
"He's doing good," his father, Dennis Wright, said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning from the trauma center at Randall Children's Hospital.
Wright said his son had been shooting at exploding targets with his friend, Cas Smith, and Cas' father, Corey Smith, in an area known as the "Dinosaur Pits" about five miles east of Baker City on Sunday when the accident happened.
"They had a little fire and Eli was trying to dump a little bit (of the chemical from the targets) on the fire to get it going," Dennis Wright said. "It sounds like (the fire) came up and lit the bag he was holding and blew up."
Wright said Corey Smith had returned to his pickup truck some distance from the boys when his son called for help.
"Corey put a tourniquet on and called 9-1-1," Wright said.
The Smiths loaded Eli into their truck and met the ambulance at the Nazarene Church at Cedar Street and Hughes Lane en route to the hospital.
"Thank God Corey was there," Dennis said. "He probably saved his life."
Corey called Eli's mother, Kelli Wright, and she and Dennis met them at the Baker City hospital where Eli was stabilized.
Eli and his mother traveled by air ambulance to the Portland hospital where they arrived about midnight.
Dennis Wright said he drove with friends to Portland, arriving about 2:30 a.m. Monday.
The Wrights also have two other sons: Nathan, a freshman at Baker High School, and Jake, a South Baker fourth-grader.
A Facebook page titled "Pray for Eli Wright" has been established and friends and family are posting their care and concern for the Wright family and especially for Eli.
"The outpouring has been pretty incredible," Dennis Wright said. "Prayers and thoughts just keep coming in.
"He's a pretty special kid," he added. "He's loved."
And his son returns that affection to others.
"He loves his friends," his father said. "He'd do anything for his friends."
Eli is a seventh-grader at Baker Middle School where he has participated in football and basketball. He also has played Little League baseball.
"It's been incredible to see all the love and concern for Eli," Wright said.