Earlier this month, more than 20 people were killed in a huge explosion at a fireworks factory in Phu Tho province, northern Vietnam. The blast blew off roofs and blew in windows in nearby houses, and could be heard 6 miles away.
Traditionally, home-made firecrackers were used in Vietnam to celebrate weddings, but the government banned them in 1994, and decreed that fireworks manufactured in state-approved facilities should be used instead.
In 2008, about 20 people were killed in an explosion at an unlicensed fireworks factory in Istanbul, while 8 years earlier, a similar number perished in a blast in a depot at Enschede in the Netherlands, which specialised in importing Chinese fireworks for use at events like pop concerts.
Fireworks were also in great demand in London in the nineteenth century, and in 1854, a house in Westminster where a Mrs Coton made them, blew up, killing her husband and a boy who worked there. Mrs Coton had the house rebuilt, but four years later, it blew up again, killing five people, including, this time, Mrs Coton herself. Two years later, the government clamped down on firework manufacture.
· Thanks to this Spanish Wikipedia entry for putting my Historia Mundial de los desastres as ‘further reading’. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desastre_natural