The president of the company that presented the failed 4th of July fireworks show said he “can’t apologize enough” to the citizens of Lakewood.
Stephen Vitale, the president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Pyrotecnico, said that his company puts on more than 2,500 shows per year around the country.
He couldn’t recall the last time there was such an epic malfunction.
“We feel horrible about it,” Vitale said. “We can’t apologize enough. We did everything we could. Our job is to entertain — not disappoint.”
As many as 30,000 disappointed people in attendance made a slow retreat to the exit at Lakewood Park on Wednesday.
Most of them confused as to what had happened.
Mayor Michael Summers told Lakewood Patch on Thursday that the city would seek a full refund for the failed $33,000 show — as well as for the more than $13,000 in additional costs.
Vitale said that the company is “willing to anything we have to do to make it right.”
He said that the “firing system failed,” but said he won’t have more details until the equipment is returned to New Castle, PA.
“We’re working with the city to make it right,” he said. “It’s a very experienced crew. With technology, sometimes it fails you — and I am not using that as an excuse.”
There were two set of back-up computer boards; multiple sets of cables; and several fire control systems.
They all failed.
Thousands of people — many of them camped out at the park for hours — began a slow retreat to their homes when the lights came back on at around 10:30 p.m.
A few test rounds went off at around 9:30 p.m., but that was it.
And it’s likely that there won’t be any fireworks show in Lakewood this year.
While the city “hasn’t ruled out” a make-up date, Summers said that high costs of overtime and finding a date that works has been difficult to sort through.
The city has contracted with the company for the past three 4th of July events.
“They’ve never had this sort of catastrophic failure before,” Summers said. “To have these sort of catastrophic circumstances is very unusual.”