2005-08-17 21:03 UTC Fire and Water
One of the things I saw when I was in Switzerland was the fireworks display. This was intended to last 50 minutes, in three parts, each from a different pyrotechnic company. It's launched from launching platforms on barges on the lake and from the piers.
Unfortunately they had to have a delay between the first and second parts because... one of the launching barges had a minor fire.
Five minutes later, no problem, fire was put out, part two ran and was beautiful. Then between parts two and three... twenty minute break! Multiple fires had started on the launching barges! Some quite major ones! Several fireworks exploded of their own accord! Oops.
The people putting out the fires seemed remarkably relaxed about this, too. As far as we could tell (from where we were sitting, on the roof of one of the building lining the lake) there was just one little boat running between the barges, and it was just meandering gently about. Apparently they couldn't just use water hoses, since that would have ruined the fireworks for the third part, and were just using small buckets of water and sand which they threw on the flames.
It's the first time I've seen fires during these fireworks, although apparently they had the same problem last year. From what I've read, it's caused by some of the fireworks overheating and making other things catch fire. I guess with pyrotechnic displays this is a risk you run, but you'd think they'd know how to avoid it by now.
As always, the display ended with the Jet d'Eau being switched back on during the finale, this year lit a deep red. Beautiful stuff. However, overall, I don't think I was as impressed with the finale this year as I was when I attended it with Nadia (includes photos). It was beautiful, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't overwhelming like it was back in 2002.
I'm already planning to go see the fireworks display next year. Only 51 weeks to go!