A Long Island fireworks manufacturer rang in the new year with a new world record.
Fireworks by Grucci, based in Bellport, helped produce the world’s largest aerial firework shell that was launched into the sky during a New Year’s Eve celebration in the United Arab Emirates, according to a Guinness World Records representative.
Grucci shares the record with Al Marjan Island, a real estate development company in the UAE.
The shell was about 5 feet in diameter and weighed 2,402 pounds, according to Guinness World Records. It dwarfed the previous record holder, which weighed 1,024 pounds and measured 48 inches in diameter.
The average aerial firework has a diameter of about 6 inches and produces a colorful burst of light that stretches about 550 feet in diameter, according to the company’s CEO and creative director, Phil Grucci.
The bigger the shell, the bigger the burst, according to Grucci. The explosion produced by Grucci’s record-breaking firework stretched about 3,000 feet in diameter.
Grucci, who belongs to the fifth generation to run the family business, said he’s dreamed about capturing the title for decades.
His father, James Grucci, broke the record in 1979 with a 40-inch shell that he launched off Banana Island, Florida. That record was shattered two years later, and Grucci has wanted to bring “the title back to Long Island” ever since.
When Fireworks by Grucci was hired to put on the New Year’s Eve show, Grucci saw his opportunity. He said it took his team of engineers, manufacturers and pyrotechnicians about five months to put the massive firework together. All the parts were produced stateside and shipped separately to the UAE, where it was assembled over the month of December, Grucci said.
On New Year’s Eve, the company orchestrated an 8 1⁄2-minute show on Al Marjan Island — a group of man-made islands north of Dubai — with the record-breaking firework as its finale.
Christopher Grucci, Grucci’s son, sent the shell skyward with the push of a button while his father held his breath.
They were unable to test the firework before its debut, and although they had run all the calculations, Phil Grucci still had the remote fear that either the shell would not launch or it would reach its apex without bursting open — disappointing the thousands of people who had gathered for the show.
“My heart was racing,” Phil Grucci said. “I could feel the pressure.”
The firework left a trail of white sparks as it was launched 2,200 feet into the air before it lit the night sky with a burst of red, Grucci said.
The company already holds the record for the largest pyrotechnic image, according to Guinness World Records.
In 2014, Grucci set off synchronized bursts of fireworks to create a 600-foot-high by 900-foot-wide American flag, and outdid themselves the following year by re-creating the UAE flag in Dubai. But Grucci said this record feels a little more special.
“This was on my personal bucket list and a tribute to my grandfather and dad,” Grucci said. “But records are made to be broken, so when someone builds something bigger, we’ll be there to take another crack at it.”