IT STARTED with a bang and went off like a rocket, but Scotland’s most dramatic fireworks display was all over in under a minute, fizzling out like the most disappointing of sparklers.
Organisers of Oban’s community display have been forced to make an embarrassing apology after a display of dozens of fireworks, which should have lasted for about 20 minutes, went off in just 50 seconds.
But despite the unexpectedly early finish, the display was described by onlookers as the best they had ever seen.
Across Scotland, firefighters had a busy night, but the number of incidents was down significantly on previous years, with Glasgow seeing its quietest Bonfire Night in a decade.
The failure of the Oban display, which had cost £6,000 to stage, was blamed on an electronic timing fault which saw hundreds of fireworks explode all at once.
Local councillor Louise Glen-Lee said: “It was the best fireworks display I have ever seen, despite its brevity. No-one complained.”
Fellow councillor Roddy McCuish, who helped organise the event, said hundreds of spectators had been wowed by what they thought was just the start of the display at the town’s Mossfield Park.
As the event came to an abrupt halt the crowd thought Councillor McCuish was joking when he apologised after professional firework display company Pyro 1 said there had been a fault.
Councillor McCuish said: “Pyro 1 are a reputable company and they fully admitted it was their mistake, they couldn’t apologise enough.
“The fireworks were fantastic, but they only lasted 50 seconds. They are put off through an electronic box and they are all fired off electronically, but the whole lot went off at once.
“They do displays all over Britain, from Edinburgh to Wembley, and this has never happened to them before.”
Across the country as a whole, there were hundreds of call-outs for the country’s fire brigades, although the overall number of incidents was down on previous years.
Strathclyde Fire & Rescue said it had dealt with 563 incidents in a 24-hour period, making this year’s 5 November the quietest in more than a decade.
Assistant Chief Officer David Goodhew, director of operations, said: “Despite the good weather, our incident numbers were down again this year, and I’m delighted to say we had no bonfire-related casualties.”
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said it had dealt with 450 calls, well down on previous years where it had dealt with up to 1,000.
The Grampian service said it had dealt with about 83 call-outs, adding that a safety drive had led to a 15 per cent fall in the number of bonfires on last year.
Mike Cordiner, from Grampian Fire and Rescue Service’s risk reduction unit said: “It appears that the public are following our safety advice and I thank them very much for assisting us to improve safety within their communities.”