Light My Fire

Zambelli Fireworks has worked with Henderson County to put on its Fourth of July display for more than 15 years.

Zambelli Fireworks has worked with Henderson County to put on its Fourth of July display for more than 15 years.

When the fireworks start lighting up the night sky over Hendersonville’s Jackson Park on July 4th, very few of the thousands enjoying the display might stop to think about the work and preparation needed for the 22-minute show.

More than 1,000 firework shells will be shot into the air, according to Anna Esturilho, project manager for the southern region of Zambelli Fireworks. Zambelli, which is headquartered in New Castle, Pa., has worked with Henderson County to put on its Fourth of July display for more than 15 years. Zambelli is one of the largest fireworks companies in the world and this year will help arrange more than 1,800 Independence Day fireworks displays in cities and counties throughout the United States.

Each Zambelli show is customized and no two or alike, Esturilho says. A lot of prep work goes into each show and it typically takes two to three days to manufacture a firework shell, which Zambelli facilities work on throughout the year.

The firework shells are shot from mortars, which are arranged and placed by a crew of three or four people who are typically contract workers with Zambelli. The shells are launched anywhere between 100 and 1,500 feet into the air. It typically takes one full day to load and arrange the fireworks mortars.

“Our technicians really love their work, and they take great pride in it. They are also very safety conscious and are very careful to make sure each shows is safe,” says Esturilho.

It makes sense that the technicians are concerned with public safety, because a good percentage of the people who set up fireworks displays for Zambelli work as police officers and firefighters during the rest of the year. Veterans of the U.S. military also make up a good portion of the Zambelli firework technicians.

“We work with a lot of police officer, firefighters and ex-military personnel. It definitely takes a special sort of person to do this kind of work, but the training and experience police, firefighters and military veterans have received also fits very well with our business.”

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