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Rumble Digit

If Rumble Digit had worked...


New Years Eve fireworks are reported as having gone off without a hitch, but as KNPR's Ky Plaskon reports the star of the show, never made it's debut.

SOUND: Promoters

PLASKON: A month ago, organizers of the New Year's Eve party promoted the biggest bash here on record. The Mayor, fireworks CEOs and the visitor's authority planned to ring in the city's 100th birthday with one hundred of what it called Centennial Chip Shells: Rockets that would explode to nearly a football field in width. And it demonstrated a never before seen kind of fireworks.

GRUCCI: Countdown to our practice new years . . .

PLASKON: January 1st was supposed to be the world premier of what's called the Rumble Digit - a digital clock- like fireworks countdown in the sky.

SOUND: Bang

GRUCCI: Happy New Year.

PLASKON: But the display never materialized. Stacy Allsbrook of the Centennial Celebration committee which contributed to the 1.1 million dollar cost of the evening was a little disappointed.

Support comes from

ALLSBROOK: I was looking forward to them, absolutely, for the first time to have this kind of show.

PLASKON: It wasn't the power outage at the Rio - the location of the fireworks command center - that happened after the show. All week the Metropolitan Police Department had tried to warn that winds over 10 miles could pose a problem says spokesperson Chris Jones.

JONES: That is the best we can do, we want you to come and celebrate and these are the things that could throw a wrench in it, luckily they didn't.

But that wasn't the reason either

GRUCCI: The wind and the weather cooperated with us.

PLASKON: Phil Grucci, President of Fireworks by Grucci said it was technical glitches that kept them from unveiling the new countdown marvel of numbers in the sky. Unlike the other 40-thousand pyrotechnic devices he fired off new years eve, the Rumble Digits have computer chips in them. They were supposed to be fired from 5 rooftops with networked devices. Those devices that initiate the fireworks were what caused the cancellation he said.

GRUCCI: When you are dealing with an outdoor environment and you are performing for 300-thousand plus. We have to make those split second decisions. For the safety of those who might be on the strip

PLASKON: He couldn't reveal any other technical details because the Rumble Digits are a proprietary system. But he expects fireworks by Grucci will be back next year to unveil the Rumble Digit again.

GRUCCI: Sometimes bugs have to be worked out on the site and in our case we chose not to work a bug out on the site for the safety of the public and that was the decision.

PLASKON: He says now, the company will take the Rumble Digit back to it's secluded 100-acre ranch in the woods of New York for testing.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

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