Ah, fireworks, the stuff of patriotism and juvenile delinquency. Invented in the 12th century by the Chinese to blow up each other’s mailboxes, the pyrotechnic goodies have since become more closely identified with American Independence Day celebrations and trips to the emergency room. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks account for around 7,000 to 9,000 injuries, and an average of 7 deaths, per year. A quick glance at reports of fireworks deaths yields this pro-tip: if you light a firework, and it doesn’t go off right away, do not look into the launch tube!
Of course, the safest firework is the one you don’t buy. As a reminder to play it safe this Fourth of July, and to sate the bitterness of those living in a state where it’s illegal to buy fireworks, we present a salute to (non-lethal) displays of pyrotechnic panic. With loud report! (Warning: There is some seriously NSFW language in a few of them.)
10. The Literal Crotch Rocket
This highly uncomfortable clip is reminiscent of a cross between Jackass and the Buffalo Bill "tucking" scene from Silence of the Lambs. Maybe this guy will stick to putting the lotion in the basket from now on.
9. You'll Never Be a War Correspondent
Another staple of fireworks failure videos is the spectacle of people fleeing in wettening pants, coupled with understandably shaky camera work. This lensman catches most of the action but, alas, ducks and covers during what sounds like the best part.
8. Meh-ch Republic
How badass are Eastern Europeans? Watch how these Czechs barely even flinch.
7. The Citizen Kane Of Fireworks Fails
This one has it all: the dazzling pyrotechnics, the spectators outrunning a fiery death, the panicky cameraman. Throw in some nudity, and you'd have the perfect video.
6. The Save
One of the constants in fireworks-mishap cinema is the moment of recognition that something isn't quite right, followed by abject panic. The great thing about this one is the way the guy thinks he has cleverly averted disaster with a quick-thinking tilt. Yeah, not so much. [NSFW for language]
5. Burning Down The House
Three words to avoid: Residential Fireworks Display. This Utah amateur pyrotechnic fail lit a guy's house on fire.
Even the pros mess it up from time to time. This 2010 display in Palmyra, Pennsylvania resulted in 11 injuries, none of them fatal. The cameraman goes from singing along with the band, to covering up for his life, but he keeps rolling.
There are two great things about this clip of a November, 2012 fireworks fail in Edinburgh, Scotland: the cameraman who almost gets nailed by a firework, but goes back for more, and the guy in the foreground, who waits the whole thing out just feet from the epicenter.
2. You Put Your Fireworks Where?
At the Balloon Festival in Taunggyi, Myanmar, they apparently load their fireworks onto hot air balloons. Let's see how that worked out for them in December, 2009.
2b. You Put Your Fireworks There Again?
At the Balloon Festival in Taunggyi, Myanmar, they apparently still load their fireworks onto hot air balloons. Let's see how that worked out for them in December, 2012.
1. Gone In 30 Seconds
Spectators got more and less than they bargained for, as the 2012 San Diego Fireworks Display shot its entire load in 30 seconds. This year, they promise to try thinking about baseball.