Actor Benjamin Bratt is steering clear of the fireworks this Independence Day (04Jul13) after almost blowing his hand off as a kid.

The Miss Congeniality star traditionally holds a summer (13) barbecue for his friends and family on the U.S. holiday, but he makes sure to hire experts to take charge of the light display at the end of the night after a scarily close call during his childhood.

During a taped appearance on U.S. morning show Live with Kelly and Michael, he explained, "I leave the fireworks to the professionals.

"When I was a kid I nearly blew my hand off... Living in the city, my brother and I used to go through the gutter and look for the old duds. We'd peel the paper back and pull out the little bit of wick that was left, light it and throw it on the ground and watch it go off. I waited 30 seconds, which I thought was ample time, (but) apparently not enough because I picked it up, started unwrapping it, bam!

"I didn't even look, it felt like it blew off three fingers. There were blisters, piercing ear trauma, but I learned my lesson."