When that quiet was shattered by a series of loud kaboom like explosions, just before dusk on Monday September 12th, it is hard to venture what residents thought they were hearing.The tenth anniversary of 9/11 was the day before and sound in the city travels in strange ways. One resident's explosion might be an other's gun shots. Few if any would have guessed that a children's birthday party afterglow was the culprit.
One neighbor breathless from running said that when she called police the dispatcher said they had received over a hundred calls. That may be an exaggeration but anyone within earshot would have been concerned and "birthday party" was not the first thought that came to mind. There was even some confusion as to whether the "police" were "there" or "coming " or the if man driving the black SUV was an officer of the law or just the "valet parking person. So this reporter camera in hand went to investigate.
It seems the neighbor who likes fireworks was at it again (see July 2nd post on the proper etiquette of backyard fireworks). The courtesy of informing the neighbors in advance had been ignored and the
fireworks chosen for the event had no redeeming social value. They did not light up the sky, look pretty, or do much anything except make noise. If I recall from my junior high "firecracker in tin can" nomenclature there were firecrackers which were topped by Cherry bombs which were beaten by Silver Salutes which were bested by M 80's which were close kin to dynamite. I guessed the neighbor was using silver salutes which are usually launched from a closed mortar like device. That's because with silver salutes there are two explosions. One launches the projectile approximately 15 feet in the air where the second louder explosion, the actual "salute" occurs.
In looking at the pictures and watching the home movie a couple of things become apparent. The first blast occurs in the open (rather than in a mortar tube) on strange box (presumably metal) not unlike something a mail order umbrella might arrive in. The launching blast (as seen in still photos taken from the movie) seem to generate in a split second,heat,flame,smoke,and sparks that is not as visible in the movie. The red box where the Silver Salutes were kept is very close to the launching blast. The grass while not dry is high in the vicinity of the launch. There are no fire extinguishers of even buckets of water in case of a mishap.
Of course there might be mitigating circumstances.. Perhaps the ice cream melted because the freezer went on the fritz, necessitating a mad dash to the backyard with what ever was left over from the 4th of July. The neighbors would not however be sympathetic. Not when fire,smoke, and noise is the outcome. The chance of a mishap might be slight. With the excellent quality control standards of fireworks manufactured in People's Republic of China factored in they may be as infinitesimal as less than a zillion to one. Regardless most home owners in the area would prefer that they be zero. That is why such fireworks are illegal in the State of Michigan. .
Children's Birthday party's are special. As the saying in the City of Bloomfield Hills goes, "There is class and occasionally there is a lack of class. When in doubt there is always the Cranbrook Science Museum." Like most memorable sayings there is a lot of validity in it.The kids have a memorable day and one the neighbors aren't likely to recall.
|Setting fuses. Note proximity of fire works in red boxes to launcher|
Above launch explosion
Below seconds later