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The sometimes fatal cost of this hobby


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#1 TheSidewinder

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:28 AM

MOD EDIT: This is a very somber, and sobering, anniversary which is upcoming. I strongly suggest ALL members re-read this.
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I hate to be the first one to post this, but:

http://www.missoulia.../bnews/br30.txt

Our fellow pyro, Tad K as many know him, had an accident that cost him his life. Although I didn't know him personally, I felt somehow that I did, through this and other pyro-related forums. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.



This is addressed to everyone:

While fireworks may not be inherently dangerous (that's arguable) they are, perhaps to an even greater degree than the Sea or Aviation, terribly unforgiving of carelessness or mistakes.

It appears that Tad made a mistake. Tragically, he paid the ultimate price.

Though we don't yet know whether Tad did so or not, this should be a VERY sobering warning to those who consider cutting corners in the safety department.


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#2 Frozentech

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 11:08 AM

I also didn't know him personally, but liked his style and evident love for pyro, from Passfire and the Advanced Pyrotechnics group. I am very sad for his wife and daughter, I wrote to Bill Bahr last night to ask if there is a fund being set up for them.

Unless the ATFE and local investigators see fit to release details, most likely no one will ever know exactly what happened. From the raw video footage on the missoula TV news site, with the garage levelled, and garage door blown 100 feet away, I would say too much material was on site, regardless of how it ignited.

Pyro accidents happen *fast*, and you can't outrun it. Be careful, and stay green.
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#3 Frozentech

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:27 PM

Sights you never want to see - this was Tad K's home & garage/workshop :

http://www.cannonfus...jects/blast.asp
" I'm gonna say we've reached the limitations of that rocket's thrust " - Cplmac

#4 pyro4life

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:54 PM

Horrible to see and read and an extremely tragic price to pay for doing what he loved but it makes you think sometimes, just one mistake is all it takes and your life is gone. I feel for his family and friends, it must be terrible what they are going through at this sad time.

RIP Tad K.

#5 ltf

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 10:16 AM

I'm shocked with the amount of energy that was realesed over there. Never had an idea that there are guys who work with such large amounts of explosive meterials.
I'm very sad for his family and though I did not know him and never noticed a post written by him its still hard to know that someone died just because he was working on his hobby.

Be careful everyone..

All of my remorse to Ted K's family.

#6 Frozentech

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:07 AM

I'm shocked with the amount of energy that was realesed over there. Never had an idea that there are guys who work with such large amounts of explosive meterials.

It takes a lot less than people might think. I know of a guy who *very* narrowly escaped a similar fate when he was priming crossettes. He was using NC thinned with acetone to make a BP slurry and dipping the exposed bottoms of the comets. Suddenly a sheet of fire blew across his workbench, as acetone fumes flashed from an *unknown* ignition source ( either static or a candle that was blown out 45 minutes earlier ).

The fresh prime on the crossettes did it's job, and took fire, he attempted for 1 second to extinguish one, burning his hands pretty badly, then realized what was about to happen, and ran from the room.

Crossettes started breaking, and spread burning comet material onto 2 batches of drying stars, also some went about 4 meters clear across the room to another work table. On that table were large ziplock bags of KP and whistle burst mix.

Just as he cleared the room, he said the *entire room* went like a blow torch. After the initial blast, he was able to reenter the room with a fire extinguisher and put out the remaining fires. That was from just a few kilos of material.

He did 10,000 Euros damage to that one room, was evicted, and of course, had painful burns.

I have been really nervous of flammable vapors such as acetone, lacquer, naptha, alcohol etc, ever since, because they can light and spread fire from an unknown source, and lead it right back to you !
" I'm gonna say we've reached the limitations of that rocket's thrust " - Cplmac

#7 Frozentech

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 02:11 PM

There are a couple of funds being set up for Tad Kolwicz's family. For those who are not Passfire members, the 'public' fund is :

Tad Kolwicz Memorial Fund
c/o Missoula Federal Credit Union
3600 Brooks St. Missoula, MT 59801

I really encourage anyone and everyone to send what they can to help his family out. No doubt that his insurance carriers are going to fight tooth and nail against paying out for a pyro explosion-caused death.

His obituary is at: http://www.missoulia...ri/07_mar30.txt
" I'm gonna say we've reached the limitations of that rocket's thrust " - Cplmac

#8 tentacles

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 11:55 PM

I didn't know the man, but it's a tragic loss.

Disturbing that the newspaper calls his shells firecrackers.

#9 aquaman

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 07:28 PM

Never knew him and now I won't. From the sounds of it he was a great man and the worst happens to the best of us. He's probably up there making fireworks as we speak.

RIP Tad K
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#10 ns4life

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 10:28 PM

Turely sad! Those pictures are definately a wake up call for some. I wonder why he didnt have that large of a quantity in a magazine.

#11 CrazyIsraeli

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 10:01 PM

Another great mind lost.
We shell forever hold his name in our hearts.
Rest In Peace Eugene "Tad" Kolwicz.

#12 gods knight

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 10:03 AM

Thats the problem with becoming a pyro you always think this would happen to someone else, unfortunetly he was someone else to to some other person :( RIP Tad
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#13 ecko

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 10:18 PM

Wow...That is horrible. RIP
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#14 TheSidewinder

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 10:34 AM

And here it is, almost a year later.

Hard to believe it's been that long.

But I think it's a good time to pin and reply to this topic so it gets re-read by ALL members, not just the new ones.


When you dabble in Pyrotechnics, be you an amateur or a professionl, you are only ONE mistake away from the hereafter.

AS I SAID IN MY FIRST POST:

Pyrotechnics may not be inherently dangerous but, like Aviation and sailing the Sea, is TERRIBLY unforgiving of mistakes or carelessness.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT!!

You may not get a second chance. It appears our friend Tad, God rest his soul peacefully, found that out the in worst possible way.

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#15 oskarchem

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 10:49 AM

Yeah, have to say: This is horrible, I have already read about this accident, but now that I re-read it I found that the prss say: "He had papar tubes 2-3" in diameter" what are they trying to say he was a 3" M-8$ maker?!
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#16 Mumbles

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:22 AM

They're trying to pass it off as that. I think the overall general consensus was a stray spark. Some have theorized it was chlorate caused. He had stated a few weeks earlier that he was switching to chlorate colors.
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#17 Frozentech

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:39 AM

Yeah, have to say: This is horrible, I have already read about this accident, but now that I re-read it I found that the prss say: "He had papar tubes 2-3" in diameter" what are they trying to say he was a 3" M-8$ maker?!

It's hard to trust newspapers when their primary goal is to sell advertising. He had probably boxes of canister shell tubes, I know he was into bulk buys, and sharing the costs with things like rolls of kraft paper, tubes, shell hemi's, etc.

He was no M-8* maker, he was into a variety of shells though, crossettes, canister shells of all types, so he *could* have been making bottom shots.

I really wish we knew what exactly happened, but like most of the bad accidents, no one probably ever will.

I got a nice card from his daughter last year, she said she and her mom were amazed at how many pyro friends contacted them, and the outpouring of support. She also mentioned how much he loved the hobby. She didn't sound like she blamed "pyro" per se, for his death.

It's a sad anniversary coming up.

Everyone be safe, stay green.
" I'm gonna say we've reached the limitations of that rocket's thrust " - Cplmac

#18 al93535

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:16 PM

Hard to believe it was a full year ago, seems like only months. I still have all of the pictures and files saved to the HDD.

Be and stay safe, Ya never know whats around the corner.

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#19 ST1DinOH

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:43 PM

wow

it's always sad to hear about a fellow brother of the flame getting killed by his passion.

i never knew him, i don't know anything about him, but in this hobby i feel like i somewhat knew the guy.

if he was like all the other guys i've met he was personable, friendly, and passionate about pyrotechny.

my hats off to him, and TBH i'll probably raise a glass of green beer in his name this evening even though nobody will know who he is.

is there any video of his work? if he was this dedicated i'd imagine he made some amazing shells. someone could make a tribute with his vids but i'm not sure if that would be innapropriate or not though. i don't want to overstep here...no disrespect intended...but regaurdless of his cause of death, it's his love of the hobby that should be remembered.

along with the overwhelming reminder that this can happen to anyone of us at anytime.

RIP Tad K...i'm sure thoes that knew you miss you dearly.
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#20 Arthur

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 03:37 PM

http://images.google...h...ficial&sa=X

http://news.bbc.co.u...37696/img/1.jpg


Two links to BBC pics of a small wholesaler's place in the UK going pear shaped.




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