Up on a hill adjacent to the Jamail Skate Park on Sabine, workers with Pyrotechnic, a 120 year old family owned fireworks company based in Pittsburgh, put the finishing touches on a 20-minute firework show that Doug Aller says is unique to Houston, but always improving:
"That's one big thing with us, is we always try to outdo ourselves year after year and, the show we shot here last year, we sat down, watched it, reviewed it, and looked at how we can improve it and make it look better. And that's our goal, is to make it better every year, year after year (2X)."
He says there are no two shows that are done alike. Aller says they've been working on Houston for a week, studying every angle, every spacing in every device that he says will paint a picture in the black sky with pyrotechnics set off by computer:
"When we talk about, at least the joy that I get from doing these type of events, it's the 'oohs and ahhhs' that we get from the crowd. It's the reason we do this, is it's for the people. It's the reactions and, when we sit here tomorrow night, and we're shooting off the show, and we can hear the crowd cheering and we can hear the gasps from the effects that they're seeing, that's when we know we're doing our job."
On hand to see the setup, senior fire inspector Joe Leggio with the Houston Fire Marshal's office. He says the company puts safety first when it shoots off 2-thousand shells:
"We have met and exceeded all state requirements in the safety end."
PH : "What are the big points that regular patrons would not even think about?"
Leggio : "Well, the big thing is simple things such as sanding in the mortars. That is so important because it has to be trucked in with a truck, and then it has to be actually hand loaded around the mortars. But it's so important, because what it does it stabilizes the mortars, and ensure that there's no rattling or shaking loose, and then shells being fired in directions they shouldn't be fired in."
He says as a standard procedure, they've stationed fire trucks at the nearby Sabine Lofts and 6th Ward, increased the fallout zone, identified wood roofs and vacant lots, and will do a wet down before the start.
The fireworks show begins at 9:35 p.m.