Monday, July 02, 2007

When You Take Out The Sparklers, It's Only A Ton And A Half

Watts, Los Angeles, CA

I used to work 4th of July fireworks shows. At least until a friend, the pyrotechnician, got seriously fucked up in one. A round went off in the mortar and some stars (those burning phosphorescent things you see when it explodes) got through a small opening in his jacket at his throat. See, they have oxidizers in them. That means they burn even if you smother them, stick them in the water, or embed them two inches into a guy's vocal cords. He was in ICU for what, a week or two? Now he sounds like the midnight demon at the end of the alley who wants to eat your heart out with a side of hashbrowns.

I'm pretty clear on the dangers of fireworks. They are, after all, explosives. Some of them are pretty nasty. Worked a show where our finale went off wrong. Racks and racks of 8-inch shells, the big fuckers, fired only 6 feet in the air and went off. Looked like the Death Star going up. Fortunately, the guy with the road flare who set it off knew enough to be low. He was deaf for a couple hours. I was working the fire line at the extreme edge of the field and it punched through me like a sledgehammer. When things go wrong, you feel it.

So, yeah, dangerous, as I said. They shouldn't be in places where they might accidentally go off. Like your garage.
A "couple tons" of illegal fireworks were seized from a Watts residence Sunday.
That's a lot of boom.

You get this crap every year. I heard one story last Friday that was pretty much the same thing. The authorities don't really like that sort of thing. Considering that it's, you know, a felony. I'm waiting for the DHS to get involved. Won't that be a hoot.


pattinase (abbott) said...

What's amazing to me is how fireworks have been going off every night around here for a month. And I mean extensive fireworks that last for a half hour. I think it's become a graduation rite.

Steve Allan said...

There was a fireworks display that went really wrong in Portland, ME about ten years ago. After everythiing settled down they had to fire off the rest of the fireworks - at 1:00 in the morning. It was really weird.