Firecrackers and Chinese Manholes: An Explosive Combo

by Joey deVilla on February 6, 2012

I’ve been running into these videos where someone in China lights a firework, drops it down a manhole and gets literally explosive results. The ensuing blast is powerful enough to launch the manhole cover!

Is this kind of methane buildup particular to sewers in China, or are there other places where the sewers are brimming with poop gas? Is it simply caused by the high population density in Chinese cities coupled with Chinese cabbage or is there some other cause?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

free_geek February 6, 2012 at 9:56 am

there was a similar issue in DC years ago, except in that case it was underground electrical wire instead of firecrackers setting things off.

Here’s a quick run down of the story,

Carl Suiter February 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

Gases build up in manhole vaults for a number of reasons. This is probably where electrical lines are present not sewer lines as you suggest. Go to and you will see more information about this. This explosions happen all over the world inluding the United States. In fact a number of cities are now installing Swiveloc to protect there citizens.

TBIT February 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

the most amazing part of the first video is how the blast just shreds the guy’s jacket…

Grammar Guy February 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

“In fact a number of cities are now installing Swiveloc to protect there citizens.”
That’s a solid approach, but I think they should also be concerned about here citizens.

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