Check out this firework that explodes near the ground. In the background you can see an aerial firework being shot off; it begins its ascent and then bursts into a large display too low off of the ground. If the actual effects look like they are shooting straight towards the human activity on the street, it’s because they are! You can see one of the stars actually fly around haphazardly, bouncing off the cars on the road. The premature burst could be the result of three probable causes.
The first cause could be an inherent malfunction in the actual firework that happened at the time of manufacture. While the majority of big firework manufacturing factories take extreme precautions in safety, there is always room for error. Because so many fireworks are still handmade by factory workers, human error can happen every now and then. Most of the big firework companies like Black Cat and World Class Fireworks take the quality and safety of their fireworks very seriously; from development to the testing stages. Many American distributors of foreign-made fireworks even send over quality control staff to monitor the facilities to ensure compliance with US regulations.
The second cause of malfunction could be a result of damage or misuse to the firework after the time of manufacture. For example, if a firework becomes wet or bent during packing, shipping and stocking, it could misfire during the user’s pyrotechnic experience. Also, the damage to the firework could happen on the consumer end, by an inexperienced user who did not store or inspect them properly before launching. Reduce the chances of misfire by looking over your fireworks carefully before igniting. If you see peeling or ink-smeared labels this could be a sign of water damage. If you notice that the firework (like a Roman candle) is bent or warped, this could cause a star to get jammed up in the tube and cause the star to explode out of the sides of the device.
A third cause of a misfire like the one seen in the video could be the result of an improper mortar tube. Mortar tubes should always be made out of only HDPE pipe or fiberglass. Any other type of plastic pipe or metal pipe is too dangerous; if a firework was to “flowerpot” and explode from the inside, razor-sharp piece of shrapnel could be projected onto innocent bystanders. Even with a quality fiberglass or HDPE tube, if the diameter is wider than the shell, the gases created by the lift charge will escape through the crevices and have a negative impact on the launch.
To avoid a misfire like the one in the video, remember to buy your fireworks from reputable firework companies that place a high value on safety, visually inspect your fireworks for damage, and use the appropriate launching and igniting gear.