Officials: Live Firework Shells May Wash Ashore After Barge Explosion

Police say malfunctions caused the explosions and fires during a fireworks show on the waterfront in Plymouth

Town officials say live firework shells may wash shore after two barges being used for a July Fourth fireworks celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts, caught fire after one of them exploded Monday night.

Investigators said a fireworks shell that exploded inside a mortar tube is believed to have caused the explosion and fires during a fireworks show on the waterfront in Plymouth, 40 miles southeast of Boston.

Witnesses say the fireworks show had been going on for about 10 or 15 minutes when there was a large boom on the barge followed by bursts of fire. The second barge then had a malfunction and also caught fire.

Crews will be working to clean them up the remaining shells, but officials are warning residents to not touch them because the shells can be dangerous. 

Eighteen-year-old Carley Ryan of Carver was watching the fireworks show with her boyfriend and family when about 15 minutes into the display, they noticed something was wrong.

"It was like a grand finale," Ryan told NBC Connecticut about the first barge fire. "The whole boat shook, too. So, it was too big of an explosion to be a normal firework."

Firefighters are trying to determine what caused the malfunctions.

A statement from Ken Tavares, Chairman of the 4th of July Committee and Chairman of the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Plymouth, said, "We are grateful that no one was injured. We have a high regard for the fireworks company, Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc., a company in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, and have used them for many years."

No injuries were reported.

Beachgoers should report if they see any shells.

According to State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, another barge caught fire in Salisbury after trash was left on the barge.

He said this is fire code violation and the shooter will face an administrative hearing.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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