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Fireworks Fail Explained

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Problems plagued two of the biggest fireworks shows in the Metroplex this Fourth of July.

Hot weather and dry grass combined to force a temporary halt to last night’s “Fort Worth Fourth Fireworks” show when the pyrotechnics touched off grass fires.

The fireworks stopped for several minutes, when flames threatened not only the grass, but as Javier Balderrama told CBS 11 News, also trees. “I guess about halfway through a fire… they had to shut the place down,” he said. “There were some trees that went up in the blaze last night; pretty intense.” Balderrama’s friend, Fabian Salas, said he could literally feel the fireworks.

“Some of the fireworks were so intense you could feel the heat when they burst; you just felt the heat wave.”

Two brush trucks and a bomb expert were on the scene per existing safety protocol, according to fire department spokesman Tim Hardeman.

“During the show the grass fire got to the point where they couldn’t control it with just the fire extinguishers that the pyrotechnic operator has to have on the scene. So that’s why we have them on the scene to deal with any issues that come up,” he said. Backup units were dispatched but got caught in traffic. “I can imagine getting in and out of there was compromised because of the traffic,” explained Hardeman. Fortunately they weren’t needed as the brush trucks and personnel on the scene controlled the fire. The show eventually went on without further incident.

“I wasn’t too much worried about it to tell you the truth. We saw lights as soon as the fires came on so we knew the fire trucks were over there and doing their job,”another witness, Sam Castro, said.

In Dallas, meanwhile, the fireworks over Fair Park fizzled after several minutes, leaving long awkward pauses between the blasts.

The company behind the show, Pyrotecnico, blamed an electrical short that prevented many of the firework shells from ever launching.

“It breaks your heart as a fireworks company. One of the purposes of our company, THE purpose of our company, is to create oohs and ahhs. And if we fall short of that, we take that personally, as well,” said Creative Services director, Rocco Vitale.
Vitale said he plans to meet with Fair Park organizers to discuss ways to make it up to them.

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