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San Diego Bay fireworks ignite all at once, botching show


A glitch caused the fireworks at San Diego's biggest fireworks show to ignite all at once, botching the Fourth of July pyrotechnic show for hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Fox 5 San Diego reported that viewers saw only a massive display of the Big Bay Boom shortly before 9 p.m., just before the show was to begin at the Port of San Diego. 

U-T San Diego quoted the Coast Guard as saying that a premature ignition occurred on several of the barges carrying the fireworks. 

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"I've never seen so many fireworks go off at one time," Rich Dann, a Coast Guard search-and-rescue controller, told the newspaper. "I saw what looked like a fireworks finale."

NBC San Diego said that by 9:20 p.m., people waiting for the fireworks show were told to go home.

[Updated, 11:22 p.m.: The Port of San Diego issued the following statement:

Approximately 5 minutes before the show was to start, a signal was sent to the barges that would set the timing for the rest of the show after the introduction.  There were a number of preliminary test signals sent hours and minutes leading up to the show.  All these signals tested properly according to Garden State Fireworks, the fireworks company that provides the show. 

The Garden State Fireworks team will be working throughout the night to determine what technical problem caused the entire show to be launched in about 15 seconds. 

We apologize for the brevity of the show and the technical difficulties.]


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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