Cumberland Times-News

Local News

June 18, 2014

Different company to launch July Fourth fireworks from BW

New location on Haystack Mountain school property will allow larger shells to light sky

— CUMBERLAND — This year’s Independence Day celebration will feature a new company shooting larger shells from a new location at the girls softball field at Bishop Walsh School on Haystack Mountain.

“If you look at the blue water tank on the mountain, that will be your point of reference,” said Jeff Rhodes, city administrator.

 With fireworks having requirements for the amount of open area surrounding a launch site, the spacious location of the softball field at Bishop Walsh will allow for the firing of larger, 6-inch shells.

City officials had wanted to use Bishop Walsh last year after the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that Constitution Park, where the fireworks had been launched for decades, was too close to the renovated county 911 center.

However, the company putting on the Fourth of July fireworks display last year did not have the insurance required for the Bishop Walsh location. That moved the event back to Constitution Park and forced the use of smaller shells to be in compliance with the distance between the Constitution Park parking lot and the 911 center.

“We had to move back to Constitution and have a smaller show,” said Rhodes.

A new company, Starfire Corp. of Carrolltown, Pa., will supply this year’s fireworks show. Starfire’s first job for city officials was for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display with officials being pleased with the performance.

“We really want to thank Bishop Walsh and the Archdiocese of Baltimore for helping us and granting permission. Without them this wouldn’t be possible,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes said that people will have to adjust their viewing location. Given the vantage point on Haystack Mountain, the fireworks should be visible from many areas across Cumberland, LaVale and Mineral County, W.Va.

“We’re looking forward to a good fireworks. The fire marshal is good (with the location) and there are no obstacles,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes explained that the new location will help the fireworks show be larger because of the open space provided by the site.

“For each inch of the shell, it will go up 100 feet, and you have to have 100 feet of fall area,” said Rhodes.

Last year’s parking lot location at Constitution Park only allowed for 4-inch shells. The site at Bishop Walsh will give the necessary clearance for 6-inch shells, which require a 600-foot fall area.

Watching the fireworks from the Bishop Walsh School property is still being discussed. Rhodes said that the school and its parking lots are private property and school officials will make that decision.

“It changes where people will have to go, but otherwise I think we’ll have a good show,” said Rhodes.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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