Glenwood fireworks show goes on, but with proper precautions
Everyone loves fireworks, right?Maybe not everyone; especially in a state where wildfires have ravaged lives and upset whole towns.But in Glenwood Springs, the city decided to allow the Fourth of July celebration to continue with the traditional fireworks show. But not without the proper precautions.”There’s a whole mess of codes” to comply with, said Patrick Nickson, a professional pyrotechnician.Nickson, who works for the pyrotechnics company Western Enterprises, has been helping with Glenwood’s Fourth of July for seven years, and he says the display is as safe as humanly possible.One of the primary safety tools, said Nickson, is the Colorado River, which is immediately adjacent to the area he uses at Two Rivers Park. A huge circle was cordoned off by wooden barriers and red “do not cross” tape to keep residents out.The show has been calculated and the fireworks aimed so that “everything pretty much fires and drops debris in the river,” Nickson said.Sometimes, he said, they’ll get a few small blazes on the riverbanks, but never in his time have any serious fires gotten started because of professional fireworks displays.Just to make sure, three Glenwood fire trucks and six firefighters are always on hand, said Lt. Pete Bradshaw of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, who confirmed that pyrotechnics companies are almost never responsible for fires.”In my 11 years, we’ve never had a fire from a professional show,” said Bradshaw.So for the most part, the fire department just stays out of the way while the show’s going on.”We really have a hands-off role,” Bradshaw said. “Our role is to be out and about, trying to mitigate any fireworks that may be set off by the public.”As for unlicensed privately owned fireworks going off in the crowd, he’s not too worried.”Usually people are pretty conscientious,” he said.Nickson said he’s seen a few problems with crowd control.”We’ll hear, ‘Do you have a light?’ 25 times a night,” he said. “”The most dangerous time is not shooting the show. It’s moving the show in and out. If a shell goes off out here and goes in the truck, the whole truck goes bye-bye.”When you see big accidents every Fourth, it’s always the truck blowing up, not the show.”He said another issue that has arisen in the past is rafts that are making their way down the Colorado while the show is going on.The river, said Nickson, “is always full of rafts, which you can’t do anything about.””We hear yells from down there every once in a while,” he said.Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext. 529 firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Glenwood Springs City Council will consider approving the discounted rate for students Thursday night.