With all of the snow we had in NJ on Thursday, a buddy and myself went around to a couple of houses to make some extra money just snow blowing. Neither one of us has a plow or any inclination right now to get one. He has a Toro CCR 3650 new and I have a Toro 421 metal auger thrower which from the model and serial number I estimate to be from 1983-1984. We were on our last house and were finished for the night. I turned my 421 off in a snowbank and did something that I knew should never be done when the machine is on, but it was off.. I used my hand to clear out the top shute where the snow comes out from. In doing that, that dislodged some ice chunks that were holding the augers in place. As soon as the ice dislodged, there was still pressure in the trans and everything turned a half turn. I am very lucky I still have all of my fingers and the tips. The machine caught my left hand (which was inside a ski glove) and did the following: Thumb - not touched. Pointer finger - top knuckle bone broken, gory cut, took 3 stitches. Middle finger - bone good, another cut, took 2 stitches. ring finger - top knuckle bone chipped, not cut at all. pinkie - not touched. I have splints on my pointer and ring finger, both of which will be off in 3 weeks or less. Stitches come out next Saturday. At least I got all my jobs done, it doesn't affect my regular f/t job and there are no cleanups missed cause we got 8 inches on snow, 5 inches still on the ground, very little melted so far.. I know we all use power equipment basically year round. I know that when the snow blowers jam, to clear the jam with a stick or pole, whatever. But we were done and the machine was off. But the ice had lodged leaving built up tension in the gears. I know it would of cleared itself if I just let the snow melt, but I try to take care of my equipment. The hospital I went to told me that another guy was in there 3 hours earlier and lost 2 fingers completely. He was trying to clear the machine and admitted he had it turned on, augers running. The guy thought he was "quick enough" to jab in with his finger to dislodge something but obviously wasn't. He was oriental, I guess he wanted to kung-fu the machine. Anyway guys, be careful. Trust me that this happened in only a split second and caught me by surprise as I didn't know the trans could hold pressure in it. Any of you can reply and say I'm a dumb-*** for doing what I did but if the machine is off, well what the heck? Makes me wonder how to clear out the lawnmower blades in early spring if it gets too thick and heavy and the 21" stalls.. And how to change all blades safely, even with the machine off? No matter what you say, be careful, crap like this happened in a split second, the pain was the worst in my life and could of been much much worse of an outcome.