My character is at a commercial fireworks display. Can a firework fall from the sky and kill him?
Burns, bruises, blast injuries—all well-known problems associated with fireworks. But what about the big displays, the massive showers of multicolored sparks in the night sky at New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July? Do they ever fall from the sky?
Yes. Yes, they can, and they do. These accidents occur with commercial fireworks—large and loaded, and restricted to trained and licensed pyrotechnics experts.
An aerial shell—basically a mortar—is loaded with multiple clay balls, each containing chemicals that ignite in color. The shell is launched, and the contents ignite in a desired order. The burning chemicals give the color, while the packaging controls the timing of the explosion. This gives rise to the fancy displays typical for Fourth of July.
A launched shell that does not explode—a “dud”—can drop from the sky. They can be heavy enough to cause serious injury from the weight, in addition to burns and blast injuries if the shell ignites close to people. An unlaunched shell that explodes on the ground is dangerous--there are reports of decapitation resulting from bending over a shell as it goes off.
Although rare compared to more typical home fireworks injuries, there are multiple reports of accidents caused by commercial fireworks displays.
Kelly has worked in the medical field for over twenty years, mainly at large medical centers. With experience in a variety of settings, chances are Kelly may have seen it.
Sometimes truth seems stranger than fiction in medicine, but accurate medicine in fiction is fabulous.
Find her fiction at www.kellywhitley.com.