Several leftover shells exploded when they were hit by lawnmowers, and other unspent ordnance was found from shows held at locations including Worcester (Mass.) CC, which later had a shell detonate on its grounds. Pyrotecnico, a Pennsylvania-based producer of fireworks shows, is under scrutiny as further investigation is made.
Stray fireworks have been found and in some cases detonated after a series of Independence Day displays in the Worcester, Mass. area, prompting new searches for unexploded ordnance, reports the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The situation has also heightened concerns among local residents and safety officials and led to increased scrutiny of the fireworks company, Pyrotecnico of New Castle, Pa., that was hired to produce the holiday shows.
One of the displays was held at Worcester (Mass.) Country Club on June 24. Fire officials then learned over two weeks later that an unspent shell had been found on the club grounds the day after the show and that a leftover shell exploded under a mower several days later, in an incident that wasn’t immediately reported.
Pyrotechnico is cooperating with state and local officials who now plan to conduct new searches of properties that surround the fields where displays were lit.
State Fire Marshall Stephen D. Coan told the Telegram and Gazette that he’s being “very firm” with the Pennsylvania company, and that he has also suspended the shooter’s license of David Bilodeau, a Ware, Mass. resident who was hired to light fireworks for a display in that town, 22 miles from Worcester. Two shells exploded in Ware after being hit by mowers in separate incidents in the days following the 4th of July.
Pyrotechnico has also been told to surrender its user certificate and has been banned from setting off fireworks in the state pending completion of an investigation that could result in administrative hearings and additional license suspensions, the Telegram and Gazette reports.
Golf course workers at Worcester Country Club told investigators that they accompanied employees from Pyrotecnico on a “first light” search the next morning — a required procedure in which the show’s “shooter” and others walk the grounds to look for unexploded fireworks and other debris.
In all, several other mower-triggered blasts and a total of eight unspent shells have been reported in the area, from about 15 displays that were set off in Massachusetts by Pyrotecnico,
Mark DeSantis, president of the Ware Lions Club, which hosts that town’s fireworks display, told the Telegram and Gazette that Pyrotecnico hasn’t yet been paid for that show and won’t be getting a check until things get sorted out.
Pyrotechnico also came under criticism when a planned holiday display in Lakewood, Ohio, ended after a few test rounds were fired, according to a report in LakewoodPatch. The company apologized but 30,000 people left disappointed and city officials said they would discuss whether to seek a refund.
Pyrotechnico’s website says the company does 600 Independence Day events and a total of 2,000 shows annually.language