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What is the most dangerous experience you have had with fireworks?

Asked at Dillons, 1740 Mass. on June 30, 2011

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Photo of Doughlas Baker

“My blind son picking them up off the ground. The way he’s blind, he sees sparkles.”

Photo of Billy Davis

“A friend of mine took a stick off a bottle rocket and tossed it. It went into my shoe and gave me a third degree burn on my foot.”

Photo of Jamie Webb

“When I was in eighth grade we went down to the Lake of the Ozarks and we were on the dock and one of them exploded. Everybody had to jump in the water.”

Photo of Tommy Gish

“When I was a little kid I was lighting a firework and ran away immediately after; it was a rocket. I stuck the punk right in my arm. I have the scar to this day.”


riverdrifter 6 years, 11 months ago

Dumb bro-in-law once tried to light off a big-ass mortar with the fuse cap still on. He was outta the way though. Singed his 'brows when it launched. Once, we put a giant cherry bomb (size of an apple) in a five-gallon bucket and clapped the lid on it. It done blew the lid straight up ~25 feet and took out a streetlight. We used to buy agricultural cherry bombs by the gross out of the back of a pick-up out at Quality Oil. We'd toss'em like fire crackers but soon got learned not to toss'em on lawns: they'd blow the grass clear in an 8" circle and it wasn't going to grow back anytime soon. Mad dads. Otherwise, for once I agree with jerkbait_law: none.

RoeDapple 6 years, 11 months ago

None. At least in the last 50 years. As a kid, had a Roman candle backfire and catch my shirt on fire. Also was at a park where another group were lighting bottle rockets and throwing them in the air before they fired causing them to be 100% unpredictable for direction. People were getting hit but one finally went into their wagon of fireworks and destroyed all they had left. That was a good show. Had a similar event at home when my brother dropped a punk in a wagon of firecrackers but wasn't nearly as spectacular.

Oh yeah. In '67 a coworker thought it would be funny to throw an M80 into a rail car I was unloading. My hearing was absolute zero for several hours afterward. Just might explain some of the hearing issues I have today.


RoeDapple 6 years, 11 months ago

I used to get "creative" with black powder, thick sided cardboard tubes and cannon fuse. At least until a friend who happened to be in LE told me,"Don't. Just don't." After seeing how others in the last 25/30 years have injured themselves doing similar stunts I'm glad I stopped. Those were some real window rattlers though . . .

gphawk89 6 years, 11 months ago

The very first time I lit a 4" mortar with a match. The thing had a 2-foot long fuse on it. I had no idea how fast those fuses burned so thought I had plenty of time to get out of the way. I did, but just barely. Now I know why these are lit with flares taped to the end of broomsticks.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 11 months ago

Dropped a lit "punk" into a #10 can full of M-80's back in '75. Still haven't found the can.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 11 months ago

I'd like some ghost posties & a side of hash browns. Lil juice would be nice, too, thnx.

Mary Darst 6 years, 11 months ago

When I was in high school, had a pack of Black Cats go off in my hand. Spent the rest of the holiday in a picher of ice water....The best memory...our dad gave us lit cigarettes to use as punks....they would lite up firecrackers real fast.

boxers_or_briefs 6 years, 11 months ago

The time I accidentally shot a rocket into my car.

topeka52 6 years, 11 months ago

We were at the drive-in theater in Osage City back in the late 60's tossing bottle rockets in the air, one bounced across the ramps into a 57 Chevy leaving the theater. You could see the thing bouncing all around the inside of the car before the guy jumped out while the car was still moving.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Almost dropped a 105MM Willy Peter round on my foot.

Paul Hahn 6 years, 11 months ago

Well... that would be the pipe bomb we made in 1983. Got arrested and spent the evening of July 4th chained to a table, being interrogated by an FBI agent. He mostly laughed through the interview. That was way before 9/11.

RoeDapple 6 years, 11 months ago

An older dude told me he and his friend "borrowed" a case of dynamite and a box of fuses from a construction site back in the late '50's. As they drove through the countryside with the goods between them on his old Harley they decided to blow up an abandoned bridge in an unnamed county. Upon opening the fuse carton they discovered they were electric so they tore down a couple of hundred feet of fence wire and hooked it to the coil of the bike. His friend won the toss, so he was lying in the ditch when the kick starter was applied. He says he remembers seeing his friend followed closely by the Harley fly past, then it started raining bridge timbers. Luckily they weren't too badly hurt and the bike started so they made it home. Small town, not many motorcycles there, so the sheriff showed up the next morning.

1029 6 years, 11 months ago

A three-story house burned down. It was vacant. I can't go into any more detail.

masterjace 6 years, 11 months ago

You had to know the kid this happens too, but he is a accident magnet. 2 weeks before this happens he shot himself in the same foot.

It was at a kegger out in a field in the Good old Bad days of things we are not supposed to remember or talk about. One of those 100 keg, keg parties that went on for 3 nights or longer in the heat of July, and everyone just had fun, no fighting, no stress, just everyone had a good time. The party was fun, we had been picking on a kid for a while now, and a he was taking pretty good, he had been panced, and could not get home, his car keys, money, wallet everything went in the fire. He was standing there in his underwear and no one would give him a ride home or feel sorry for him, if you knew the guy you would understand, he brought it on himself. I was just a witness to things, but 2 weeks before he had shot himself in the foot with a stolen pistol, it was one that he and his buddy had taken from his dad and forgotten where they got it, and they thought it was cool, it was a 22 no big deal at the time, that was until he tried to be a gun slinger and almost shot off his baby toe, then did not tell his Mom or anyone for a week out of fear of what his Father was going to do once he found out them playing with the stolen gun. The toe finally had gotten so bad and infected that he came clean and ended up in the emergence room getting it taken care of. Of course there was a police report and all hell broke lose. He for the most part managed to lie his way out of all of the trouble and get away with most everything, but he was not supposed to be out at the party, he was grounded and there was no way his Dad was going to be happy with him for being drunk and at the Kegger. He had been bragging about how easy it was to lie and get his buddy into trouble over the stolen gun when in fact it was his idea to take, that is what led to his lose of pants. Well anyway it was getting late and a Army buddy said here watch this, Gimp boy was what we were calling the Boy that lost his pants and had shot himself in the foot, was on crutches, so the next thing I see are 2 M80's lit and in the air and "NO ONE MOVE" they land on the ground next to Gimp Boy and what does he do, he steps bare foot on the M80's with the same foot that he shot the hole threw with the 22, and blew the last the 3 smallest toes inside out, it was a bloody mess, and he had to be taken to the Hospital and have them pulled back right side out, they were still there, but they were inside out. He still has them and can walk but it was a mess. I can still see it today his stepping on the M80's after being told not to move and all the stupid crap he has done.

If there is a way to get hurt he will find it. I glossed over several parts of things. I could go on about the M80 Roman Candle being shot out of the butts but I will save that one for another time. Same kid different part of the body. MJ

RoeDapple 6 years, 11 months ago

When I was 12 I was showing the neighbor kid how to hold lady fingers loosely between my finger and thumb and let them explode. He lit his and it started to slip so he squeezed tighter. Oops. Two stitches in each finger.

RoeDapple 6 years, 11 months ago

Paul. As my neighbor the psychologist puts it, you gotta be a little psycho to get in that line of work. A pipe bomb? Well . . . if I ever need counseling I may call you. (some may say it's a little late . . .)

wmathews 6 years, 11 months ago

I recall us neighborhood kids having roman candle wars. That mostly involved pointing active roman candles at your friends. It seemed like a good idea. Our parents disagreed.

Danielle Brunin 6 years, 11 months ago

My dad lit our neighbor's pasture on fire with a bottle rocket. The kids saw it out their bedroom window, but got in trouble for trying to get out of going to sleep. Fortunately, he was able to put it out in time. That was a dry year and if it had taken off, yikes! Oh, and my brother dropped a lit punk into his years old stash of fireworks in a rubbermaid container. There was nothing left but a melted, frisbee-looking blob. Good times!

workinghard 6 years, 11 months ago

I was at my grandmother's house when one of the neighborhood kids set fire to the neighbor's garage roof. By the time the fire department made it the roof was engulfed in flames. About that time the neighbor pulled up and started yelling "Oh my god, we just had the propane tank (huge) filled up yesterday". Fortunately they were able to put it out before it blew.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

One year I had a very interesting experience working for a fireworks distributer. It was getting close to the fourth of July, and we were way behind on deliveries.

I was to deliver the fireworks for the public displays for three cities. These were not ordinary fireworks, they were Class A fireworks. That is, the mortar shells were all 10 and 12 inches in diameter, and there were an awful lot of them.

And to deliver them? I was to drive a minivan, and all the mortar shells for the three city's displays barely fit into it. It was packed, really packed, full of big fireworks to be used for public displays.

And everyone was in a hurry, it was almost the fourth, and they were paying thousands of dollars for these fireworks, so they needed to get there pronto.

Then, there was the weather report. It reported that there were high winds, and that travel in high profile vehicles (such as the minivan I was to use to deliver the fireworks with) was strongly discouraged.

Well, that wasn't enough to cancel the public fireworks display for three towns. Yes, it was windy, but I was able to keep the minivan on the road.

But it did occur to me that if I had an accident, I sure hoped that someone had a video camera pointed at me, because it would be spectacular to see the public fireworks displays for three towns all going off at once inside a minivan. It would have been jaw dropping, and I would have been instantly cremated.

OK, I could make this part of the story long, but I won't.

So, after delivering the the fireworks for the last city, I was very relieved and started on my way back home.

Then something interesting happened. It was announced on the radio that there was now a tornado watch. I've seen tornados, and yes, it sure looked like one was possible.

I made it some tens of miles, and suddenly, the right rear tire blew out. And, it blew out all at once. Not a problem, I had a grip on the steering wheel, and so I was able to keep the car on the road, no problem.

But, if there had been that heavy load of fireworks inside the minivan, it would have been much more difficult.

I looked at the sky. It looked bad, this was not the time to be stuck on the Interstate, not with the obvious possibility of a tornado on the way.

I was less than half a mile from the next town, and there was a motel right there by the Interstate. So, I didn't stop, I drove with a flat tire maybe about a quarter mile.

Well, I sure did ruin that rim by driving on it, but I didn't care, I felt that I had done the wisest thing under the circumstances.

But I'll never forget that trip for miles and miles on the Interstate with the minivan packed full of Class A fireworks, the wind whipping me all over the road, and that right rear tire just about to blow out,,,

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I didn't shoot them off, I only sorted and delivered them. Never did get a license, I didn't care much about fireworks, it was just a job.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Gee, the boss never mentioned anything about that! All he told me that the cities involved were very anxious to get their fireworks!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

It's been years now, and maybe the biggest shells I delivered were 10 inch ones. Still big enough that you don't want a lot of them to go off in your car all at once!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah, and guess what. I was a cigarette smoker at the time! You bet, I stopped the van and walked a long ways away from it before I lit up a cig!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

There's another point though. This happened prior to 1995. Was the law different then?

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