The Richmond Register

Local News

July 5, 2013

Lightning threat prompted early launch of Richmond fireworks

RICHMOND — A weather report that predicted a lightning-laden storm cell would be over Richmond at 10 p.m. on July 4 prompted organizers of the city's Independence Day celebration to launch fireworks 30 minutes early.

Radio station WCYO, which had a live remote set up at Lake Reba Park, where Richmond’s Fireworks Extravaganza took place, began announcing at 9:10 p.m. that the fireworks would go off early, said Lori Murphy-Tatum, Richmond Tourism executive director.

Still, many people did not get the message and were bitterly disappointed when they arrived too late to see the fireworks display.

Children of families that planned to arrive around 15 minutes or less prior to the scheduled launch at 10 p.m. were particularly upset, those who called or sent emails to the Richmond Register said.

“We could see lightning on the horizon by 9 p.m.,” Tatum said, “and the forecast warned that it would be over Richmond before 10 p.m.”

After consulting with the firm contracted for the fireworks show and city officials, the decision to launch early was made, she said.

“A fireworks set up is very volatile and extremely vulnerable to a lightning strike,” Tatum added. “We always err on the side of caution when the safety of employees, contractors or the public is at stake.”

Rescheduling the fireworks was not an option, she added.

Only trained, certified professionals may launch the type of fireworks used for the July 4 display, Tatum said.

Even if taking down the fireworks array and reloading it for storage or transport was feasible with lightning on its way, the contractor could not have returned to Richmond until a month or more. And, the city’s contract called for the show to go off only on July 4. Rescheduling would have meant a new contract and its additional expense, she said.

The sky cleared and the lightning threat did not materialize, but officials could not have known that when the decision had to be made, Tatum said.

“We’re very sorry that anyone missed the fireworks, especially the children who were eager to see them,” she said. “But with the information we had and potential risks we faced, the best course was to launch them early.”

In Berea, where the city also sponsored a fireworks show, the display was launched just a few minutes ahead of schedule.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or at 624-6690.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results