Since we started this blog, on a somewhat regular basis people will write in and ask us, “What are those random explosions that you hear at night around the Tenderloin?” We’ve come across different theories, but without really ever getting to the bottom of it. Now, at last, we found out what they are. The simple answer: fucking fireworks.
How did I find this out? Simple, I penciled in five minutes between eating a burrito and slipping in to a coma to call up the SFPD non-emergency number (415-553-0123). I asked the dispatcher what the cause of the explosions were that I heard on the 20th at around 11:25AM and then 12:25AM that were probably near O’Farrell & Leavenworth. He scanned through his records and saw that they were the result of fireworks being ignited illegally. The cops know this because they sent out a car to investigate it.
Now, some people say that it could be gunfire, which goes to show that they’ve probably never heard gunfire as it doesn’t sound like a bomb. It could also be the case that it’s a blown electrical transformer, which given the shit that PG&E chooses not to give in maintaining their sytems could be plausible as well, but at the same time not. A utility explosion would be a helluva lot scarier than these types of explosions we hear from time to time.
Also, I have personal experience with this as well given that I was walking up Van Ness a couple of years ago to see a newspaper box explode maybe a block ahead of me and it scared the shit out of me. Some idiot had tossed an M80 in to it. Back in high school some of my “friends” did the same thing to my parents’ home mailbox only to then be met with near death as my dad ran outside in his underwear, firing a shotgun in their general direction (think of my dad as a Slavic Dirty Harry multiplied by six powers of awesome).
Suffice to say, I know the sound of an M80 blowing up and this is it. When you’re a teenage guy not getting laid, it seems “fucking awesome” until you lose a finger, or even a whole hand. But, the dispatcher said to report it when it happens because despite the fact that they’ll most likely not catch the guys doing it, it discourages them to some extent and who knows, some day it could actually be something worse.