World / Offbeat

German police seize 850 kilograms of fireworks stashed in man's apartment, cellar, vehicles


German police said Sunday they confiscated 850 kilograms (over 1,870 pounds) of fireworks and firecrackers from a 23-year-old man in Hamburg, ahead of New Year’s festivities.

Police were tipped off by the man’s neighbor that he was stockpiling a large quantity of pyrotechnics.

Officers who went to the man’s home found the fireworks packed into his apartment, cellar and two vans, a police spokeswoman told national news agency DPA.

The pyrotechnics contained around 80 kilograms of explosive substances — 80 times over the limit of fireworks that can be legally stored in a private home.

Fireworks and rockets are an essential part of New Year’s festivities in Germany, with revellers firing off huge amounts of pyrotechnics from balconies or their lawns.

They are sold on the last three days of the year. Last year, Germans spent €137 million ($156 million) on them.

But Jan. 1 is also marked by casualty reports of individuals injured or even killed by fireworks.

On New Year’s 2018, pyrotechnic mishaps left two people dead, a child injured and five people requiring amputations.

This season, several injuries have already been reported even before New Year’s Eve, with two people, including a 14-year-old, losing fingers to firecracker blasts gone wrong, while an 18-year-old was hospitalized for severe burns.