Update 11:10 a.m. Thursday: According to U-T San Diego, the co-owner of Garden State Fireworks, responsible for the botched show, wants to make up for the blunder. August Santore said: “We’re a proud company and we’ll do whatever we need to do, come back and do another show and not charge for it.” No date was specified.
Instead of a sustained fireworks show, fireworks in many spots on San Diego Bay were launched all at once Wednesday evening.
Shortly before 9 p.m., fireworks exploded in one massive shot which lasted about 30 seconds.
A Coronado spokeswoman reported the community's show over Glorietta Bay went off without a hitch, but those who chose other bayfront spots – like at the Ferry Landing – found themselves momentarily thrilled, then sorely disappointed, over the premature end to the pyrotechnics. A police dispatcher said the crowds dispersed early.
Sheriff deputies in Imperial Beach speaking to the company in charge of the fireworks said they were told everything was used at once.
Coast Guard officials said it appeared that entire battery of explosives
on three of the four launch barges was launched at the same time, possibly
due to a "premature ignition."
"It looked like the finale ... you know, right at the end they shoot off everything." said Rich Dann, a civilian Coast Guard employee at the San Diego station.
Port officials said on the agency's Twitter page that they "sincerely apologize for the technical glitch that affected BigBayBoom. Event producers are currently investigating the cause."
More than 500,000 people were expected to line the bay for the big blast. "It took 25 minutes to get the word out" that the entire fireworks show had blown at once, said the Coast Guard's Dann.
"On the water, there were people on the radio venting," he told City News Service. "A lot of people were unhappy, some had been here all day."
Garden State Fireworks from New Jersey were in charge of the fireworks and were not made available to comment.
Napoleon Steele came down to the beach from Escondido to see the fireworks and go to a barbecue at a friend’s place. Fireworks on the Mall in Washington, D.C. were the best he said he has ever seen, and he was anxious to see what San Diego had to offer.
“The beginning was the best. It was amazing,” he said. But the middle sucked and the end sucked.”
George Rodriguez typically walks from his place on 5th Street to see the fireworks and remembers when they were a part of the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.
“That happens,” he said. “It’s a technical world, and in a technical world you have technical difficulties.”
Kathrin Koblinger and her friend Anna-Maria Burges were disappointed. Burges came all the way from Austria to witness an American Fourth of July show.
“We just wanted to see the fireworks,” Koblinger said.
City News Service contributed to this report.