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Fireworks bust: Firm promises to 'make it up' to San Diego

July 5, 2012 | 10:03 am


Officials involved with the Big Bay Boom fireworks show in San Diego that proved to be a bust when all the pyrotechnics exploded simultaneously were busy Thursday offering apologies and some sort of restitution.

"It happened," August Santore, co-owner of New Jersey-based Garden State Fireworks, told KUSI-TV. "I can't make it un-happen.... We take 100% responsibility."

All the systems that were supposed to trigger the fireworks over a 15-minute period had been tested "and everything seemed to be working perfectly," Santore said.

PHOTOS: Failures of 2012

But at 8:58 p.m., the fireworks on four barges around San Diego Bay and one setup on the Imperial Beach pier all launched at the same time, providing a 28-second display of mostly yellow and white. And when that proved to be the only display, several hundred thousand people gathered around the bay were disappointed.

Sandy Purdon, of HP Purdon & Co., the San Diego firm that has produced the July 4 show since 2001, said an apparent software glitch caused the "premature ignition." He said his firm will "make it up to the people of San Diego."

The show costs about $400,000, mostly from sponsorships. Proceeds above the cost of the show are donated to the Armed Forces YMCA in San Diego. The Unified Port District of San Diego contributed about $145,000, mostly for advertising.

If there was a silver-lining in the fiasco, it was that no one was hurt on the barges or the Imperial Beach pier. "Our safety precautions work perfectly," Santore said.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego