Commentary

printed 07/09/2021

Despite the early gasps of shock and disappointment that quickly followed the fireworks explosion in Ocean City Sunday morning, the loss of the resort’s two Fourth of July fireworks shows didn’t seem to matter that much to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who made their way here to see them.

At least it didn’t seem to be that great of a concern to visitors and residents as it did to the resort’s elected officials, who have yet to say anything definitive about the incident beyond their own expressions of regret that the shows did not take place.

The public, of course, already knew that, but were and are eager to know more about how and why this eruption occurred. Getting that information, however, could take a while, even though the investigation by the fire marshal’s office is said to be complete.

The simple diagnosis so far is that the unintended explosion of one thing caused other things to do the same ... almost all at once.

Obviously, there’s more to the story than that, as the ignition of that first piece of pyrotechnics did not occur for no reason. Maybe some inner chemical reaction made it unstable, maybe something else inadvertently set it off, maybe a wire touched another wire, maybe ...

Although the weekend crowd, along with everyone else, wants to know the cause of ignition out of sheer curiosity, the general reaction of the local and visitor populations seemed to suggest that it was not that big a deal. These things happen, people seemed to say, as they found other ways to indulge their desires to celebrate the holiday.

Hopefully, city officials will get around to releasing the full postmortem on this big bang and we can all start looking forward to next year. Chances are, however, that won’t happen until the Town of Ocean City and fireworks vendor Starfire Corp. come to terms over the $55,000 the city paid the company in advance.

The city undoubtedly wants its money back, just as Starfire would be expected to fight to keep at least some of it to cover its own losses. Until that’s settled, the release of additional information will probably have to wait.

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