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Shells From Ware Fireworks Display Explode On Park Worker Mowing Lawn

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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WARE (CBS) – This year’s fireworks show in Ware on June 30th was a crowd-pleaser. But it has been a disaster ever since.

In the days since the display at Grenville Park, people have found at least eight unexploded fireworks shells on the ground.

Two of them went off after a park worker drove a lawnmower over them.

“Thankfully he is okay and did not suffer any injuries,” Ware Fire Chief Thomas Coulombe said.

Local officials called in the help of the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Massachusetts State Police.

Together, the agencies spent the last week combing the fields and playgrounds in the area, looking for more shells.

“It’s more than a hassle, it’s a public safety matter,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. “It’s something that my office takes very seriously.”

Sections of the park were initially closed to visitors, but they have since reopened after a thorough search. Still, no one can say with 100% confidence that every unexploded firework has been accounted for.

“I’m always going to be concerned, but I feel confident we’ve given it our best effort,” said Chief Coulombe.

But the headaches go beyond Ware.

Pyrotecnico, the Pennsylvania-based fireworks company that put on the Ware display, also did shows in 10 other cites and towns all over the state in the past month or so.

Those locations are: Waltham, Stoughton, Worcester, Ayer, Hingham, Marion, Milford, Newton, Westford, and Wilmington.

In recent days, unexploded shells have turned up in Ware, Waltham, and Stoughton.

As of Tuesday night, the State Fire Marshal’s office had forbidden Pyrotecnico from working anywhere in Massachusetts.

Company officials have a hearing in ten days’ time with the state fire marshal to explain what went wrong.

In the meantime, Fire Marshall Coan has ordered the company to come back to each and every site, starting Wednesday morning, to do extensive searches and make sure there are no more shells on the ground.

Coan tells WBZ-TV the company claims to have “received a bad batch of fireworks imported from China”.

Coan’s office is investigating whether or not the company made good on its promise to take all questionable fireworks out of its displays.

Coan says this event is near unprecedented.

“From time to time a single shell might be left at a site,” he explains, “but it is very unusual and very disturbing that we would have the number of shells that are being found here in Ware and also in the other communities across the state.”

“It angers me,” says Ware Chief Coulombe. “There is some potential the company and or the shooter knew about these shells beforehand, and if that’s the case, I am really angry because of what we’ve gone through.”

WBZ-TV reached out the company, which also has an office in Jaffrey, NH, but as of this writing, they have not responded.

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