NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday’s Fourth of July fireworks display in Naugatuck concluded early due to a “significant malfunction,” according to police.
According to Deputy Chief C. Colin McAllister, those in charge of the display at Breen Field had a technical difficulty in which a discharge fell on the ground, causing an explosion. No injuries were reported.
Dwayne Nelson caught the whole thing on camera. He told News 8 he took his mom to the show because she hadn’t been in years. In the video, fireworks are seen going off toward the ground, a huge bang is heard and is then quickly followed by a quick puff of smoke.
After the smoke settled and darkness filled the area around him, Nelson said he still felt the aftermath. “My knees are still shivering,” he said in the video, later telling News 8, “You just know when something massively goes wrong.”
“A chill went through everybody when we saw it happen because the explosions were on the ground,” he said. “Made us tremble. Everybody pretty much just stopped and started standing up from their chairs to see what was going on, not that that was going to help.”
Lifelong Naugatuck resident Jackie Bendlik said she watches the towns fireworks every year, so when it ended abruptly she knew something was wrong.
“I said it can’t be, something must have happened. Something must have went wrong,” Bendlik told News 8.
Police said the show started at 9:30 p.m. and made it half way through before the malfunction. Officials said a firework exploded at ground level, causing damage to the field. State police and Naugatuck Fire Marshals Office responded to investigate.
The field sustained some damage, including burnt grass, burnt signage, and a burn mark near the explosion site.
The police chief said there was a controlled detonation of the rest of the fireworks around midnight. Fire crews said they needed to be discharged to be disposed of safely.
In a joint press release Thursday, Naugatuck Police and Fire Department released a video depicting the malfunction saying, “The video highlights the dangers that fireworks can pose when used by members of the public. Explosives are inherently dangerous and the fact that there was minimal damage and no reported injuries can be attributed to the adherence to strict safety measures
enforced by fire officials.”
Chief McAllister said this serves as a good reminder to everyone this weekend; do not light your own fireworks.
“These are obviously professionals who’ve been licensed and registered. And even with all those measures in place you’re still seeing an incident occur,” Chief McAllister said.
Police also sent a reminder of the difference between legal and illegal fireworks:
Sparklers and fountains, which produce sparks when lit, are not considered fireworks and
are legal in the state, but cannot be sold or used by anyone younger than 16.
Devices that fly or explode, including firecrackers, skyrockets, bottle rockets, roman
candles and any firework containing any explosive or flammable compound, are illegal in
The investigation into the Breen Field malfunction is ongoing.