Friday, July 6, 2001

A Pyro Spectaculars crew cleared mortar tubes off Magic Island
yesterday, debris left from the July Fourth fireworks show.

Fireworks presenters
hurt by problems

Equipment sinks after the
Kailua show, and a shell
misfires during the
Ala Moana show

By Nelson Daranciang

The operators of the Ala Moana fireworks show were not the only pyrotechnic company to experience a problem with its equipment.

Employees of Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics put on the Kailua show Wednesday night and left their equipment aboard a 20-foot-by-60-foot floating barge that was the fireworks' platform.

"We came back in the morning, the barge was listed, all of the equipment that was on the barge slid off, and the current carried all of that equipment to shore," said Donald Pascual.

The barge was anchored 300 to 400 feet off Popoia, or Flat Island, where previous Fourth of July fireworks were launched. The fireworks were moved off the island because of environmental concerns over Popoia being a bird sanctuary.

The show was during high tide, but at low tide, Pascual said, one of the barge's 60-foot-long pontoons punctured on a coral head and took on water, causing the barge to tip to one side.

By 1:30 p.m. yesterday, Pascual said, workers had recovered all of the 800 tubes and racks used to launch the aerial fireworks.

The Ala Moana show was interrupted 8 1/2 minutes into the 21-minute program when an 8-inch shell exploded in its launch tube, damaging equipment for the launch of other shells.

Pyro Spectaculars of Rialto, Calif., resumed the show seven minutes later after inspecting and repairing some of the damage. The show was interrupted again for about 30 minutes, and many spectators left before the last fireworks display.

Pyro Spectaculars cleaned the staging area on Magic Island yesterday morning, including the unused shells.

Company representative Sherry Souza said that altogether about 50 shells -- or less than 2 percent of the 3,000 that Pyro Spectaculars brought to Hawaii -- failed to fire.

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