Technological failure leads to second fireworks display

Trent Ernst, Editor


A small group of Tumbler Ridge residents got their own private Canada Day Fireworks show, after the main show had happened.

According to Fire Chief Matt Treit, a new firing system led to a large number of fireworks failing to fire. “The system uses these firing modules,” explains Treit. “We didn’t have enough modules, so we wired two sets into each terminal. According to the company, that should work, but when we fired them, only one set went off. From where we were it looked like everything had fired, but when we went to check, we discovered a lot of them hadn’t.”

Treit says the new system was provided by the same company that provided the fireworks. The system allows the fireworks to be triggered remotely by a radio trigger. Treit says the company said it was possible to wire two sets of fireworks into one module, but for whatever reason, many of them failed to fire.

Treit says they turned on the lights to indicate the show was over, but when they went to clean up, they discovered that there were still plenty of fireworks that hadn’t fired. “We didn’t want to take them apart and send them back. Since they were all set up, we decided to set them off by hand.

“In retrospect, we should have checked before we indicated the show was over. You always get a few misfires, for whatever reason, but this was significantly more than the norm. After we thought we were done, we should have sent someone out to go check. We would have still had to have checked, but we shouldn’t have turned on the lights.” But, says Treit, there was no reason to suspect that the modules had failed to set off the second set of fireworks. “We’ll know better for next time.”

So, the crew set the remaining fireworks off by hand. Though this is the best method of making sure the fireworks fire, says Treit, it is also the least safe, and is actively discouraged.

While the show was advertised for June 30, the crowd seemed smaller than usual. Treit isn’t sure what caused the smaller turnout, though an extremely strong storm earlier in the day and threats of more rain may have kept people away.

“I was disappointed in how it went,” says Treit. “It will be much improved for next year.”