Lakewood Fireworks Show Will Not be Rescheduled for Thursday

The city may not seek a make-up day; looking at a "full refund" from the company.

The that ended in disappointment at won’t be rescheduled for Thursday.

And the show may not be rescheduled at all.

Although a rain date had been set for the following day, technical difficulties — stemming from a malfunctioned computer board — will prevent the fireworks show from moving forward Thursday.

“We’re definitely not having fireworks tonight,” said Mayor Michael Summers, who met with the city’s department heads Thursday morning to determine whether it could work.

While the city “hasn’t ruled out” a make-up date, he said that high costs of overtime and finding a date that works has been difficult to sort through.

“Right now, there are no fireworks this year,” Summers said. 

The fireworks show —  put on by Pyrotecnico, the city’s fireworks vendor based in New Castle, Pa. — cost the city about $46,000.

The company charged $33,000 and the city paid another $13,000 in overtime and other costs associated with the show.

Summers said, per the contract with the company, the city will seek a “full refund."

That includes the city’s overtime costs.

“We don’t have that kind of money laying around,” he said, adding that he spoke with the president of the company Thursday morning. “They’re a good company … They’ve never had this sort of catastrophic failure before. To have these sort of catastrophic circumstances is very unusual.”

Officials are still sorting through the chain of events, but the actual reason for the computer failure has not yet been identified.

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 rounds went off at around 9:30 p.m., but that was it.

The only public announcement system at the park is located in the pool area, and Summers made in announcement at around 10 p.m. but he conceded that few people heard him. 

“There are things with our decision-making and communication that we could improve on,” he said. “We were buying time hoping things would be fixed. Then 10 minutes went by, and then another 10 minutes. And then we learned at around 10:30 that it wouldn’t be fixed.”

Summers said that the city will look to improve its social media strategy — but noted that with nearly 30,000 people in the park the lone cell phone tower in the area was tied up.

“There’s a lot to think about and learn,” Summers added, noting that fireworks are still planned for next year.

“Emergencies we’re better prepared for — for disappointments, we’re got to take our game up.”

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Tricia July 05, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I am curious to hear how an emergency would have been handled differently? it was a disappointing night for those who truly love fireworks, but this is a small inconvenience to highlight potentially serious consequences if there had been a true emergency. The lack of a PA system / communication to approx 30,000 people congregated in the park should be taken a bit more seriously.
Robin Sweeney July 05, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Why dont we try for labor day? That should give plenty of time to fix the computer unless we come up w more excuses to not have them. Kind of feels like Christmas w out Santa.
Mark justmark July 05, 2012 at 06:31 PM
It looks like there are still a few remaining events in the area. New Philadelphia - July 7 Orrville - July 7 Shelby - July 7 Conneaut - July 8 Fairport Harbor - July 8 Painesville - July 14 Brook Park - July 15 Dover - Labor Day http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/entertainment/around_town/northeast-ohio-independence-day-fireworks-schedule-2012
Joe July 05, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Someone used the EXCUSE the cellphone tower was tied up they must think were stupid not a lot of people we're on phone's do to the fact we we're all waiting thinking it will be on in a second and we didn't want to miss anything. Think of another one guys
Disappointed July 05, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I would like to know what would have happened if the fireworks were rained out...one of the most important details in the planning process for such a large event that only happens once a year is an alternate date in case of a rain out. In an article it stated that Lakewood doesn't have the money laying around to pay for all the staff needed for safety and security at the park but they have the money to replace street lights and street signs that don't need replacing. The event is already paid for. Lakewood officials should ask the fireworks company for some kind of discount for the huge inconvenience and embarrassment to Lakewood residents especially and apply that money towards staffing the rescheduled event.
MICHELLE SIMS July 05, 2012 at 08:11 PM
What about the PA system that the band director used to announce the break and to address the consessions being sold. It is startling to think that people that we entrust to run our city cannot figure out how to send people home. Makes me wonder who we have elected and how much longer they have in term.
Heather July 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Joe, I was disappointed as well, my family and I invited friends from all over and bragged about what an amazing job Lakewood does with the fireworks display each year. I can't say whether or not cell towers had anything to do with the problems i communication, but i can tell you that at least 3 people in my group all with different service providers were unable to make or receive calls for at least an hour.
Ed Reid July 05, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Some people just aren't happy unless they're crying or complaining about something. It is what it is somethimes things happen,so grow up and get over it.
Bill Hausknecht July 05, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I love fireworks and the day is certainly worth celebrating but with money in so short supply wouldn't it be better to take that money and apply it to the school system instead of hitting us up for a (-nother) tax levy or at least helping with the shortage? And aren't a lot of fireworks made in China anyways?
Carmen Bowen July 06, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Well said Ed R.
Helen Lovejoy July 06, 2012 at 11:06 AM
What about the children? WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?!
Charles Shaughnessy July 06, 2012 at 01:14 PM
As the fireworks company will be reimbursing the City for the cost of the show and the cost of City labor for security, coordination, etc., then it should be rescheduled. How about a survey of residents on when to reschedule it? Submit either a specific date (Sept. 1st - the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend) or a day of the week (a Friday night). Rain day the next day in either case. Or have a semi-final and vote for one of the top three.


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