The show will go on this summer in Lavallette, perhaps to the chagrin of one borough resident who went so far as to call the state in an effort to stop the town from hosting fireworks displays.
A resident, whose name was not divulged by authorities, began engaging with the state after the July 2, 2017 fireworks display. They reported the display to the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, which then launched an investigation into the complaint, which centered around the fireworks’ “fallot.” Specifically, the complaint alleged “that debris was falling onto cars, homes, streets and spectators,” said Tammori C. Petty, spokesperson for the state Department of Community Affairs, which oversees the fire service.
Lavallette’s fireworks displays are held on the bay beach. A DFS inspector visited the site after the initial complaint and found that debris was located beyond a designated fallout area by about 200 feet.
“One of those residents followed up again in June 2018 requesting that fire inspectors be on site during the 2018 event,” said Petty.
State fire inspectors will, indeed, be on hand for this season’s display, which almost led to its cancellation. Councilwoman Joanne Filippone said fireworks vendors did not want the extra scrutiny of state inspectors being on-hand for the event. The state also recommended that the borough decrease the shell size of its fireworks for 2019.
“Nobody was even going to bid on this with the fire marshal down their throat over one complaint,” said Filippone.
In the end, the borough will pay $1,000 more – $9,000 instead of $8,000 – for this year’s Independence Day fireworks show.
“Part of the agreement is that the size of the shells will be smaller so, apparently, they pose less of a risk to this person,” said Mayor Walter LaCicero.
“The steps taken to reduce shell size and to monitor the wind speed and wind shift will help to eliminate debris from going beyond the fallout zone,” Petty said, adding that the reduction in shell size would not cause the price of a display to rise.
Multiple inspectors, as well as a lead inspector, will be on hand for this year’s display, Petty confirmed.