Skip

July 4 is coming up!
June 15, 2012 11:38 PM   Subscribe

What happens when a fireworks factory catches on fire? This happened recently in Russia, but it's happened before in Germany and England and the Netherlands and Thailand and Dubai and Denmark.

Generally fireworks factories take precautions to prevent this kind of thing. The Zambelli fireworks factory tour explains some of these precautions. American Fireworks, in Hudson, Ohio, has another tour. They even make fireworks in China!

If you can't trust other people to make your fireworks, you can always make your own.
posted by twoleftfeet (34 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
How about some fuegos artificiales
posted by quazichimp at 12:30 AM on June 16, 2012


The English village is Uffculme and the explosion took place in 1998 (my wife's parents live there). A few buildings near the factory have new fronts, but you'd never know it was the site of a massive explosion and surprisingly no-one was hurt. I'm told it was it was pretty incredible to watch; people still talk about it.
posted by rhymer at 12:51 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happens when a fireworks factory catches on fire?

Big Badda Boom?
posted by Mezentian at 1:29 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


What happens when a fireworks factory catches on fire?

Big Badda Boom?


In Denmark: One firefighter died; seven from the rescue team as well as 17 locals were injured. In addition 34 rescuers, 8 police officers and 27 from the Danish Emergency Management Agency were treated for smoke inhalation. The evacuation of 2,000 people from the immediate surrounding area saved many lives. Eight fire and rescue vehicles were also destroyed.
The surrounding area was badly hit by the explosion with 355 houses reported damaged, and 176 of them rendered uninhabitable. In total 2,107 buildings were damaged by the explosion, with the cost of the damage estimated at € 100 million.

In the Netherlands: The fire led to an enormous explosion which killed 23 people (including four firemen) and injured 947. A 40 hectare area around the warehouse was destroyed by the blast.[4] Around 400 houses were destroyed, 15 streets incinerated and a total of 1,500 homes were damaged, leaving 1,250 people homeless.
posted by charles kaapjes at 1:39 AM on June 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


They even make fireworks in China

Yes, but only for about a thousand years...
posted by ntrifle at 1:47 AM on June 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Jesus.
And that's why fireworks are pretty much banned here.

Which is a bloody good idea given how much like a tinderbox our bush is.
posted by Mezentian at 1:47 AM on June 16, 2012


And that's why fireworks are pretty much banned here.

Yeah. I lived in Darwin for several years, where there is an annual "Cracker night" when they are legal. And each year, the newspaper the following morning provided stories of people who'd lost fingers / eyes the previous evening, and a list of people looking for their pets. Leave it to the professionals.
posted by Jimbob at 2:35 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the Netherlands link, I was thinking, "No, no, you're too close, get further away, those things are super dangerous." And then WHAM, black screen. The Youtube comments say that the cameraman died, but I don't know how reliable they are.
posted by Malor at 2:45 AM on June 16, 2012


Wow!
posted by Mike Mongo at 2:50 AM on June 16, 2012


In the "how they make fireworks" video I've watched, they detail all the precautions they take at these places. Like a bunch of separate buildings each with separate rooms, etc so an explosion can't spread. Is this all before that or in countries where those laws don't exist? Or is the explosion somehow so out of control it overcame them?

Actually, now that I think about it I think the guy in the video said they did all that stuff AFTER an explosion to prevent the next one. So maybe these are legacy fireworks factories.
posted by DU at 3:05 AM on June 16, 2012


Denmark: google maps, aerial photo — looks like WW2 bombing. The factory was located in the middle of a residential area!

The Germany movie is from this factory too.
posted by flif at 3:06 AM on June 16, 2012




Is this all before that or in countries where those laws don't exist?

At the fireworks factory in Enschede, they'd apparently just passed their safety audit. I think it's still not 100% clear what happened, but there were several containers of fireworks stored on site outside of the blast bunkers (which is illegal) and some speculation that a large shipment of fireworks that had just arrived was being provisionally stored in a central loading area outside the blast bunkers.
posted by atrazine at 3:41 AM on June 16, 2012


What happens when a fireworks factory catches on fire? According to Revenge of the Pink Panther you get much hilarity.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:23 AM on June 16, 2012


I believe that the people who filmed the explosion in the Netherlands (at Enschede) were killed by the huge explosion recorded at 1:33 on their camera (caused by the destruction of the main gunpowder store at the factory). This may be what the Dutch voice over is saying. Can anybody confirm?
posted by rongorongo at 4:46 AM on June 16, 2012


Seems the cameramen didn't die. They're interviewed here.
posted by Gyan at 4:50 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The confusion with the Enschede disaster comes from the fact that there were multiple cameramen.

The cameraman on the rooftop in the linked video above was Gerrit Poort. He survived. The other video of the disaster common on Youtube, shot at street level, was filmed by Danny de Vries, who also survived.

There was a third cameraman, Marcel van Nieuwenhoven, who was filming in the factory compound itself. He was killed in the explosion. To my knowledge his film did not survive or at least has never been released.
posted by Chanther at 5:22 AM on June 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Chinese probably invented fireworks factory explosions, too. They have certainly had some.
One
Two
Three
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:48 AM on June 16, 2012


In 1983 the Grucci fireworks factory on Long Island explode, killing two family members.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:56 AM on June 16, 2012


If you can't trust other people to make your fireworks, you can always make your own.

Bootleg "mortar"-style fireworks, great idea if used carefully and shot into the sky, motherfucking awesome idea when just set off in the middle of the street.

sorry
posted by floam at 5:58 AM on June 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Someone set off an expired marine flare one New Years in Norway. Bad idea,burnt down a neighbours house. The sheer volume off fire crackers set off for CNY in China is astounding, it pollutes the air and loosens plaster and tiles. Letting the professionals do it is a good idea.
posted by arcticseal at 7:05 AM on June 16, 2012


Right. They're "fireworks" factories blowing up.
posted by crunchland at 7:08 AM on June 16, 2012


Questions: aren't these kind of factories supposed to be implanted a few _kilometers_ away from any significant concentration of human being (read, city, village etc) ?
posted by elpapacito at 7:30 AM on June 16, 2012


DU : Is this all before that or in countries where those laws don't exist? Or is the explosion somehow so out of control it overcame them?

If you have one near you (probably in ruins - I'd try searching on Geocaching.com, oddly enough, for likely candidates), take a stroll through an old civil-war era powder mill.

They fully understood the concept of "keep the damned things separate" loooooong before the present century - Small individual work areas, separated by huge stone and earthen berms.
posted by pla at 7:40 AM on June 16, 2012


What happens when a fireworks factory catches on fire?

Hilarity ensues!
posted by mazola at 7:41 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the Birmingham, UK they allow firework shops located below apartment flats.
posted by srboisvert at 9:07 AM on June 16, 2012


The Germans & the Danes at least had the courtesy to explode theirs at night.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:08 AM on June 16, 2012


The English village is Uffculme and the explosion took place in 1998 (my wife's parents live there).

No, the village is called 'Devon'; the video says so. I believe it's down the road from the sleepy hamlet of Somerset and a few miles from the pretty market town of Cornwall.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:23 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Youtube link from Germany isn't from a German accident, but from the firework factory fire in Seest, Denmark. The video is a clip from the 7 pm News from TV2 Denmark.

@elpapacito: The neighbours to the firework factory in Seest, Denmark tried for several years prior to the fire to persuade the politicians in the municipality and the county to close the factory down, since it was situated very close to their residential area. Without any luck.

Within a year the members of the Danish Parliament revised The Firework and Readiness Act, and to this day it's only legal to ignite fireworks produced for the general public between the 1st of December and the 5th of January, and it can only be sold to the general public from the 1st of December to New Years Eve. Stores has to take huge precautions if they want to sell firework to the general public. The firework aren't allowed to be stored in the shop itself, but in a shipping container. Because of this rule most firework stands are now situated in shipping containers on parking lots. This act and similar acts has been unable to stop the huge and profitable smuggling of banger fireworks from Germany to Denmark, fireworks that for decades has been illegal in Denmark.

Link to the act (in Danish)

posted by BonusMcGregor at 10:36 AM on June 16, 2012


Link to the act (in Danish)

Sorry about that - the above post is my first on Metafilter.
posted by BonusMcGregor at 10:40 AM on June 16, 2012


Why the hell didn't the Netherlands have an oil refinery style evacuation system set up? (If you live near an oil refinery you know that everyone gets a phone call, sirens go off, and the cops root everyone out of their houses and herd them a few miles away.) It's crazy enough to have people living so close to such a dangerous place.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:09 AM on June 16, 2012


On March 30, 1972 the "Interstate Pyrotechnics Inc" fireworks factory exploded in Bridgewater Massachusetts. The factory was less than 1 mile from my elementary school (I was in 1st grade at the time). All I remember was some windows in the school breaking from the force of the blast. The teacher had us under our desks in a hurry. Between frequent bomb scares in our school during those days (common during the Vietnam War era), and the looming threat of Nuclear War with the Soviet Union, we were well trained and really believed that the little space under our desk was a safe haven from armaggedon.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 11:38 AM on June 16, 2012


Dubai has a factory?
posted by gertzedek at 8:59 PM on June 16, 2012


Dubai has a factory?

There's a lot of light manufacturing like food packaging and processing (including, rather bizarrely, one of the world's largest sugar refineries) and some heavier stuff like ship and oil rig building and maintenance, one of the world's largest aluminium smelters. Plus of course construction materials like cement, gypsum drywall, ceramics and glass.

Abu Dhabi has a lot more heavy manufacturing: steel smelters, rolling mills, aerospace manufacturing, microchip fabs, etc.

A lot of the oil money in the region gets invested in building this kind of heavy industrial capacity but people would rather watch documentaries about fancy hotels than deep dry-docks, so the impression people get is a little distorted.
posted by atrazine at 1:39 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older This is my book. There are many like it, but this...   |   pucker up Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post