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Kyle’s ready for the big bang theory

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Bermuda's public parties will go off with a bang again this year after a new fireworks expert stepped forward.

The island has been without sparkling skies since the retirement in 2017 of Dek Froud, the only person licensed to handle fireworks.

Now Kyle Swan, a Bermudian pyrotechnician living in New Mexico, has completed his “lead shooter” qualifications and is set to rekindle the island's fireworks scene as early as July.

Mr Swan, a former firefighter in the US, said: “This is home for me at the end of the day, so I have a lot of vested interest in bringing something back to the island, that I could be proud of.”

He said that he and his wife, Jennifer, learnt of Mr Froud's retirement when they visited the island for New Year's Eve that same year.

Mr Swan, 34, added that they took up the reins and created Swan Pyrotechnics Ltd because of their fascination with fireworks.

He explained: “There's nothing like the pressure of when a firework goes off and you hear that ‘thump' that you can feel in your body. There's nothing like it and I think that's why fireworks have stood the test of time, for so many generations.”

Mr Swan said that he spent about two years shadowing other experienced technicians and performing several shows throughout New Mexico.

One of them, he added, was a spectacular display on an island in middle of Elephant Butte Reservoir, the largest lake in the state. Mr Swan explained: “For July 4, Elephant Butte had a large show with easily 100,000 people there.

“So we've done a wide variety of shows, from megachurches all the way up to major Fourth of July events, with hundreds of thousands of people.”

He added: “My many years as a paramedic and firefighter, with training in hazardous materials awareness and operations, made leading shows a perfect fit for me.

“The training I've done gives you that clarity of thought, it gives you that sense of slowing things down and just being a lot more reasonable with your approach to things, and just kind of understanding how fire works, the chemistry with that and how to maintain safety and awareness.”

He added: “Jennifer's more than 13 years of experience as a certified professional accountant drives a high level of compliance, safety and attention to detail.”

Mr Swan said that he hoped to help make Bermuda's celebrations as festive as those in other countries. He explained: “When you look at Trinidad, for example, they have the big carnival concerts and shows, and they've usually got pyrotechnics and lighting throughout the entire concert, to enhance that experience.

“Even just New Year's Eve celebrations — there are people who travel the world to experience New Year's Eve celebrations.

“So people can say ‘hey, I'm going to go spend new year's in Bermuda and see an incredibly beautiful show, that's choreographed with music'.”

Mr Swan added that pyrotechnics, if done properly, could generate a lot of tourism for sporting events, concerts and even weddings.

He also said: “Getting more experience on doing pyrotechnics from buildings, especially in Dockyard because of the stone, we can really create a cool night-time show for the people who are on the cruises.”

Mr Swan said that bringing fireworks back to the island would be “charting new territory” because there are now more regulations to follow.

He said: “Everyone has learnt, researched and understands what is necessary, so this has created a lot of challenges in getting the red tape down, because this is all new to everybody.”

Dwayne Caines, the secretary and chief operating officer of the Corporation of Hamilton, said: “The City of Hamilton recognises the value that fireworks bring to any event in a community, and we applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of any company or organisation that is looking to fill the void of fireworks that Bermuda has experienced for the past several years.”

Left of 'boom': Bermudian pyrotechnician Kyle Swan on a job in New Mexico Mr Swan has completed his “lead shooter” qualifications and is set to rekindle the island's fireworks scene as early as July (Photograph submitted)
Elijah Hassan (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Raequan Rochester (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Shakeem Albouy (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Wallace Robinson, Anthony Rogers and Wilbur Simons (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
the Matcham family (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
<p>Support for new fireworks company</p>

What do you think about fireworks?

Elijah Hassan, 26: “Fireworks are like a necessity for new year’s or July 4. It feels like the show isn’t the same without it.”

Shakeem Albouy, 25: “For younger children it adds a little flair to whatever’s going on, but it has to be done properly so it pays off.”

Raequan Rochester, 24: “I don’t really miss it, but it’s like the icing on the cake for special days. Other than that I don’t think anybody thinks about it.”

Wallace Robinson, 70: “I think fireworks bring excitement. When they left, the celebrations didn’t bring any excitement any more.”

Anthony Rodgers, 67: “It would be nice. Anything that brings excitement and attract the kids is nice.”

Wilbur Simons, 61: “So long as they’re in a controlled atmosphere, I have no problem with them.”

The Matcham family: “We really miss the fireworks, so we are for it.”

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Published January 04, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated January 04, 2020 at 10:48 am)

Kyle’s ready for the big bang theory

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