Malfunction to blame for delayed Fourth of July fireworks

Delay of the Big Band

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Many Coastal Bend residents gathered on the Corpus Christi Bayfront Tuesday night to watch the big fireworks show, and many were left angry after a malfunction caused half the show to be delayed.

Fireworks planned to launch at a second barge near the T-Heads ended up being delayed for over half an hour, with many visitors leaving the area before the launch could happen. It was supposed to be a synchronized fireworks display, part of it coming from the fantail of the U.S.S. Lexington and the other part from a barge in the middle of Corpus Christi Bay.

"It was a big disappointment," Ciro Rueles said.

That was the sentiment of many families who lined up along Shoreline Boulevard only to get a distant view of the fireworks being launched from the U.S.S. Lexington.

Still, Rueles said he and his family enjoyed themselves.

"It's a little upsetting, but what can we do, you know?" Rueles said. "It's Independence Day. Still have the joy in us."

"It's something that we do," Brenda Alaniz said. "It's a tradition every year, but this time we didn't get to see them."

Pyrotechnico has been doing the fireworks display the past two years. The director of Tuesday night's show said everything was double checked and when they got their cue, nothing happened.

"My heart sank a little bit, but there's no time to really wallow in considerations of that," Pyrotechnico Director George Tinker said. "We moved on to the next cues and we pretty quickly realized we had a system malfunction with our main firing panel."

The company has a good record of producing fireworks at the Corpus Christi Hooks games and this year's Superbowl in Houston.

Elizabeth Harden, Chair of the Big Bang Celebration Committee, said there have been a lot of complaints on social media.

"People were very, very disappointed because they brought their families. They vacation here," Harden said.

Mayor Joe McComb said he remembers a year back in the 80s when a fire broke out aboard a fireworks barge, but Tuesday night's problem does not mean the City will stop putting on the celebration.

"We regret that it happened, but we'll be back next year," McComb said.

Representatives from the company Pyrotechnico hope to make good on what they weren't able to provide to the city as promised Tuesday night, and they do plan to be back next year.

By the way, the $30,000 cost of the fireworks display was paid for by private donations from event sponsors.

© 2017 KIII-TV


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