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In 2004 my friend and I drove to Pennsylvania to load up on about $300 worth of fireworks. We didn’t know much about them but bought the heavier things available, including some mortar shells (which shoot up and make a real firework in the sky) and the tube to shoot them out of. We went to my friend’s lake house for our usual 4th BBQ, and had been drinking all day. The sun went down, and it was go time. We grabbed a mortar, shoved it in the tube, and lit the fuse. NOTHING HAPPENED. What we didn’t realize was the tube was pre-loaded, and another mortar was jammed in there now. My friend grabbed the tube to investigate, and as soon as he picked it up, both mortars exploded and shot out, INTO THE BOX OF FIREWORKS. We had a 10-second window to panic, but we didn’t even think to do that. The entire box was on fire, and the ensuing explosions were like WWIII shooting past everyone’s heads, pelting the houses, and nearly setting the trees on fire. We ducked under cars and the dogs jumped in the lake.
My friend’s face and chest were bloody and soot covered, and his hand was burned and numb, but no permanent damage. The next-door neighbor threw a punch at him and called the sheriff. I highly recommend setting a box of fireworks on fire all at once.