Fireworks show cut short

MARQUETTE – The Friday night Marquette Fourth of July fireworks celebration was cut short due to a small fire caused by the severing of a main communications cable.

Tom Baldini, chair of the Marquette Fourth of July Fireworks Committee, said the fire created technical and safety problems, and the display had to be halted.

The crew from Great Lakes Fireworks, Baldini said, tried to correct the problem but the show was stopped because of the technical and possible safety problems.

The show was based near the Lower Harbor Ore Dock, with the fireworks shot from a barge.

Although some fireworks had been released, Baldini said, the remaining fireworks could not have been used for a Saturday show because of a need to evaluate the wiring and the ordnance not used Friday evening.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” said Baldini, who noted there were no injuries.

The crowd was alerted via the radio system, which was used to broadcast music along with the fireworks, that the show could not continue, he said.

Baldini pointed out in a news release, “Everything was perfect for a spectacular display of fireworks. The weather was perfect, the crowd was large and energized and a great display of rocket explosions along with the choreographic music had all the ingredients to celebrate our nation’s birthday.”

Rosemary Smith, another member of the fireworks committee, said Bruce Tyree, co-owner of the Eastpointe-based Great Lakes Fireworks that had been the long-running provider of the Marquette fireworks show, had indicated the company would “make amends.”

“He was in tears,” Smith said.

Barry Beltz, also co-owner of the company, said discussions about reparations had taken place Saturday morning but nothing had been decided.

The committee has insurance, Smith said, but what it will cover after such an event still is unclear.

Smith, who said about 20 minutes of the show had been under way before the technical malfunction, said she was pleased with the fireworks that were shot off, noting the “smiley face” fireworks were new.

“They were cute, because they went with the song,” she said.

The committee thanked the individuals and organizations who contributed financially and with in-kind donations to pay for the fireworks. The committee also indicated it will issue a statement on revenues and expenses for this year along with a recommendation for 2015 next month.