I had a rather gnarly experience during Chinese New Year earlier this year – one of the locally produced 3 feet Roman Candle style mortars with 5 x 2” shells exploded barely a meter in front of me!
Yup, this is the precursor to the *badly delayed* annual Chap Goh Meh fireworks and firecrackers round-up of 2013 (post up tomorrow!). I had procrastinated due to the sheer amount of videos I had to upload so I decided to put it up during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – another occasion for fireworks, though not as large scale. /excuses
I bought two of the 3” long Roman Candle mortars that shoots out 2” shells and let off the more powerful version – a dual salute (report) with stars. To give you a perspective of how large the aerial shells are, here’s a 2” shell from a reloadable mortar:
Anything re-loadable above 1.75” is classified 1.3G – requires a licence in the US and is a possession is a felony – they’re not meant for consumers but professionals. However, in Sibu, anything goes – even 3” and 5” display grade shells.
This particular disposable cardboard mortar is not the more intense 3” aerial shells that we launch from a metal mortar tube made by local blacksmiths.
3″ fireworks aerial shells (requires mortar – these are display/professional fireworks but can be bought)
The 3” fireworks shells pictured above from my stash are definitely not consumer fireworks. I played with them last time but lost my mortar, one of this exploding 1 meter away would do me serious bodily harm.
I had stupidly tied the 5-shot Roman Candle disposable aerial shells to my automatic gate with shabby nylon. It’s supposed to be half buried (1 ½ feet) into the ground for safe display.
What I *didn’t* see was that the mortar was really close to being blocked by a solid metal piece welded to the gate.
How aerial shells work:
- Lift charge launches shell into the air
- Shell bursts open safely hundreds of feet in the air
- Watch and enjoy
- First shell of the five inside the mortar tube launched
- It had such a powerful lift charge the mortar tube shifted
- Second shell still left the tube safely and burst in the air
- Third shell hit the metal slab and bounced back down and burst one meter away
- Videographer (me) shouted “Shit!” in surprise at the force of the blast
- Forth shell exploded right in front of me, showering me with flaming debris
- I shouted “Fuck!” in a bit of a panic as I saw the mortar canted at an angle towards the house
- Fifth and last shell went into the porch and exploded beside a car
Full video of the fireworks accident
The problem with the digicam is that it cuts off the last 3-4 seconds so you can’t really see #8 but the pressure wave was so strong that my dad, who was standing at the door, felt it.
These 2” aerial shells are supposed to explode harmlessly hundreds of feet in the air.
Instead they exploded *right in front of me*.
It wasn’t fun, people and property could very well have been seriously injured/damaged but it’s a good thing nothing bad happened.
I had to use a hammer to knock the 1” stainless steel gate that bent (!!!) at the force of the explosion impact though. -_-