This year’s 4th of July fireworks display in Cape Charles was par for the course. A complete fail, utter incompetence, stupid. The fire was caused by a total rookie mistake–this is not the first time a fire has broken out during fireworks in Cape Charles. Professional pyrotechnics is not child’s play. In fact, the State of Virginia requires, pursuant to § 27-97 of the Code of Virginia (COV), the Fire Prevention Code now requires at least one person at each fireworks display be certified by the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) as a Pyrotechnician. Did this happen here?
Back in the day, the town would bring in pros (Italians from Jersey), and they always fired off from a barge in the harbor. It was a safety thing, in case things went south, which the pros will tell you, happens more than you think. As the town plans for next year, will they finally do their due diligence and actually put the safety of the public ahead of hiring the lowest bidder?
Below is the Towns attempt to explain what happened:
Following an almost perfect 4 th of July celebration in Cape Charles this year, an unfortunate
equipment malfunction ended our traditional fireworks display early and abruptly. About
five minutes into the planned 20-minute show, a tube containing one of the firework
mortars failed. This created a fire on the ground that encompassed other nearby tubes.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the operator had the bulk of the yet unexpended
fireworks in other racks far enough away so that they were not initially threatened.
The vendor quickly cleared the area and called for the Fire Department. The Fire
Department responded immediately and assessed the situation. Out of an abundance of
caution, the Fire Department requested the area surrounding the site be cleared. A drone
was brought in to survey the area of the fire. When it was deemed safe to do so, the Fire
Department moved in and doused the area with water. This eliminated any further threat.
While this was an extremely unfortunate accident, as accidents go, it was handled
extremely well. Hats go off to the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Harbor
staff, and everyone else who cooperated and helped to keep this incident from becoming
any more serious than it was.
Cape Charles is known for our 4 th of July celebrations, so this accident was certainly a
disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous day. The Town would therefore like to thank
everyone for their patience and understanding, as safety must always come first. Planning
for next year’s celebration will begin almost immediately, and so we hope to see everyone
back again for what is a uniquely Cape Charles Independence Day celebration.