No one harmed in Whac-a-Mole/Rock-a-Fire band warehouse explosion

Thankfully, no humans were harmed by last week's explosion in Aaron Fechter's warehouse in Orlando, FL, but it did leave "robots scattered around burning rubble."

Fechter invented both the Whac-a-Mole machine and the animatronic, coin-operated Rock-A-Fire robot musicians who delighted audiences in Chuck-E-Cheeses around the world. Lately, he had been experimenting with carbohydrillium, a cleaner-burning alternative to propane, which was apparently the culprit in yesterday's explosion. His warehouse was described by one witness as a "Joker's lair," and a video tour posted to YouTube shows it full of computer models, animatronic creatures, and carbohydrillium gear.

The explosion rocked downtown Orlando around 12:30 yesterday afternoon, shaking nearby office buildings and sending workers running outside to see what had happened.

One wall of Fechter's building collapsed in the blast. Bystanders who arrived to check for casualties found a bizarre scene: No humans were hurt in the explosion, but robotic limbs smoldered amid the wreckage.

"It was weird," Tim Roth, an office worker who rushed into the building, tells the Orlando Sentinel, which described the interior as the "Joker's Lair."

A recent YouTube video gives a glimpse of Fechter's work in the business, which he called Creative Enterprises. He shows off early computer models, animatronic creatures, and then his latest project: a new fuel called carbohydrillium.

The Guy Who Invented Whac-A-Mole Accidentally Blew Up a Florida Warehouse [Tim Elfrink/Miami New Times]

(via JWZ)

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  1. Oh MAN . . .

    I watched a whole movie on Netflix about Fechter and Rock-A-Fire:

    It's odd and not a little sad. A lot of the movie is spent following Fechter around his lab as he remembers the glory days, when Chuck-E-Cheese was buying Rock-A-Fire robot bands. He shows workbenches where so-and-so was working on such-and-such when he was fired, and just left things as they were. And there were pools of toxic plastic goo and reject animatronic skins and so on.

  2. Should I find it very telling that I can't find a single web site clearly explaining what "carbohydrillium" is, chemically?

  3. I was thinking the same - a fuel substance that has miraculous claims and no MSDS/wikipedia page/blog post about its chemistry is not something I'd bet too much on. Of course, it could just be a real thing kept under wraps until they feel it's time to patent (or release for free, or whatever) it.

    edit: "Green and pollution free", but it's a gas you burn as cooking fuel. Yeah no.

  4. I work in a building right across the street from this location. The building has been "abandoned" for several years (i.e. nobody comes and goes it's just storage). In addition, the city had already condemned the building (it's currently sporting several signs showing that is in fact condemned).

    Regarding the noise of the bang, I thought that someone dropped a filing cabinet upstairs. My co workers walked right by the building on their way to work without a second glance. At first we couldn't figure out why all the fire trucks and police and TV were hovering around until we read the reports in the media. Yea, we know something happened because of the windows blown out, but you couldn't see the back wall from our office.

    They were clearing out some items from the building on Friday. Let's see what Monday brings....

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