The Pahrump Town Board put safety first for next year’s Fourth of July celebrations at Petrack Park.
Board members believe spectators enjoying the fireworks display during the last few years may have been a bit too involved, as they were literally “touched” by the experience.
As such, the board considered to either seek a renewal of the Pyrotechnico Fireworks contract or to issue a new Request For Proposal (RFP) for alternate organizations to bid for an award for the 2014 show.
Several years back, Pyrotechnico Fireworks was awarded the contract for the Independence Day show after the board broke ties with Zambelli Fireworks, who provided the displays for more than a decade.
Pyrotechnic Fireworks, after a few years of service, was sidelined by the town board at its Dec. 10 meeting.
The board voted unanimously to reunite with Zambelli.
For the town board, the 2013 show was the last straw as board members got an earful of complaints concerning burning embers from exploding shells raining down on attendees at the park.
Pyrotechnico producer Phillip Stewart told the board that the company established close ties with the community after the inaugural show more than three years ago.
“We began in Pahrump back in 2010, where we did a Toys for Tots donation show which I hold close to my heart as a United States Marine. For the last three years we had been launching proud and wonderful displays for the town and we definitely want to continue that legacy here,” he said.
Board member Amy Riches was unyielding when directing comments to Stewart on how she felt about the most recent fireworks show in July.
“I had a real problem with you last time because we had debris raining down on people. One resident, Mr. Goldstein brought in a whole bunch of debris which fell on the crowds. In the backup material, you don’t say whether you provide security,” she said.
O’Brien told the board he has a proven track record with the town in providing his services for fireworks displays over the years.
O’Brien appeared to be better prepared when making his case for the contract.
“I have been shooting fireworks for 35 years and we shot your shows for 19 years successfully in Pahrump. We put some recommendations in the contract proposal due to the issues of housing that has encroached into the park area. In concerns for the shells that we are currently shooting, our area is a 500-foot radius. We shoot behind the bleachers for a reason because if we do have a low burst, the bleachers and trees will take the brunt. It is done by design and in our shells a 500-foot radius goes almost out to the Bob Ruud Center and past the residents on Basin. With that, we have removed our six-inch shells and gone with five-inch shells for safety,” he said.
O’Brien said both companies use different criteria in terms of whether the “show will go on” during harsh weather conditions.
“If the fire chief says we need to shut it down, we stop the show at that particular point. We have the ability to stop our show at any time. They are using timed fuses between their shells and it’s very difficult to stop an array of shells once they’ve been started,” he said.
It appeared to all in attendance that the “die was cast” when board Vice Chair Bill Dolan made his remarks, which seemed to doom all chances of Pyrotechnico Fireworks receiving another contract offer for the show.
“It was two years ago when we had fallout in the park from the fireworks. As a resident at that time, I went to town management who assured me it was not going to happen again but the very next year it happened again. It was very disconcerting to me,” he said.
The town will pay $25,000 for the production.