A building at a factory in Hunan Province, China that produces gunpowder for use in fireworks was obliterated following an explosion that rocked a neighboring community on the morning of May 28. The plant’s management issued a statement saying, “It was completely destroyed so we don’t know the cause. However, it was a normal explosion.” It’s hard to argue with the managers in a gunpowder factory – certainly that would be the most normal place to have an explosion.

The incident occurred roughly an hour after the plant began processing saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur into thicker granules of black powder. These materials are mixed together in a wet environment to prevent accidental ignition and later dried to be ready for use.

According to the factory management, only one processing machine is allowed in a single building and the machines are monitored by a control room 30 meters (10ft) away in accordance with safety regulations. The facility was located 3km (2mi) away from the nearest village in which everyone heard the explosion.

The company had said that the blast was categorized as a “normal explosion” which probably is either a way to measure its severity or to suggest that there was no foul play such as terrorism involved. There’s also a good chance that an important nuance was lost in translation by the time news hit Japanese shores.

Nevertheless, Japanese netizens had a field day with it on message boards.

“No matter how many times I read it, I can’t get how they connect ‘normal explosion’ with ‘the cause is unknown.’”

“Normal explosion? lol”

“Watermelon fields, doubanjiang, tomatoes, flashlights, iPad factories, beer, 100 home appliances, and gunpowder←New!”

“I had a normal explosion in my pants.”

“I was about to worry. Thank god it was a normal explosion.”

Then again, maybe the irony of calling an explosion “normal” is intentionally done by those in an industry that’s literally a powder keg. It’s got to be important to keep spirits light when your entire stock, processing plants, and workforce could all be wiped out in an instant.

Actually, considering all this, who pursues a career in gunpowder manufacturing to begin with? Sure there’s a fair bit of money to be had, but there are also so many more stable industries like snake venom extraction or bioweapon engineering to consider first.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News via Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Image: Wikipedia