Saturday's fireworks accident had a minimal effect on the remaining activities of Parkersburg's Homecoming. Homecoming officials tell us one of the fireworks prematurely detonated, setting off a chain reaction of misfires in the first two minutes of the scheduled display.
They say the company putting on the display followed all safety precautions.
“Therefore, when you have a malfunction of a unit, we do not know at this point whether there was anything that could have been done otherwise. We just followed the rules, they followed the rules, and we're very happy nothing did happen. Things like this will happen occasionally,” says George Kellenberger.
John lee, chairman of the fireworks committee, says the display was shut down within 10 to 20 seconds of the initial misfire. Only one person was injured, and those injuries were minor. As for the weekend itself, the accident, as well as Friday night's rainstorm could have contributed to a drop in attendance.
“We had between 160-170,000 people in and out over the weekend. It was down a little bit, and (the weather) reduced their attendance on Friday night,” Kellenberger says.
The fireworks display in 1987 was also cut short by an accident, but Kellenberger says the two mishaps differed in several ways. One is that a different operator oversaw the display at that time.
It also took place in a different location, and, while the fireworks were set off manually at that time, the display is now computerized.