Successful fireworks setup makes for a spectacular 4th of July celebration

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  Firework shows with their glittering lights and miraculous sparkle almost seem like magic. But, there is a lot of hard work that goes into making sure the fireworks show we all enjoy on the 4th of July doesn't go down in flames.

Lynn Broad is a pyrotechnician and has been for 39 years. He and his crew began setting up for the fireworks a day in advance, and they worked all day long.

The fireworks display those who are running the show see on the ground isn't as glamorous as the one spectators behold.

The setup starts with plywood built to hold plastic tubing. Then, before showtime, the Fire Marshall comes to keep watch while the crew loads the live shells into the tubes.

Because it rains so much in Alabama the pyrotechnicians have a unique plastic cover for the explosives almost like a black plastic garbage bag but these are not flammable.  They allow the show to continue, rain or shine.  "We can shoot right through this plastic and it won't catch on fire, the plastic won't," says Broad.

Each live shell that goes into the tubes has a long match connected to an electronic device. The display is operated by a computer.

Even if something goes wrong Broad says he has it covered, "Most of the stuff I've done in preparation so I already have all of my electronic gear and I have back up."

Broad is confident this 4th of July's firework show will sparkle like all his 39 years before.

Broad helped set up numerous shows throughout the Tennessee Valley. This 4th of July he will be operating the show at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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