SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Last year’s July 4 fireworks display is something Simi Valley residents won’t soon forget.
Dozens of spectators were injured when the fireworks were accidentally shot into the crowd.
That isn’t stopping Simi Valley from putting on another fireworks show this year.
But some residents are deeply concerned that Bay Fireworks, the company responsible for last year’s accident, has been invited back for this year’s show.
“It leaves me with some hesitation,” Simi Valley resident Pamela Brower said. “We are not going to be planning on going there.”
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Kristine Lazar spoke to Jennifer Cifuentes, who attended last year’s show and whose father was hurt by shooting debris.
“Do you think they deserve a second chance?” Lazar said.
“Yes and no. Obviously, they didn’t do this on purpose. But they should have been more careful,” Cifuentes said.
The CEO of the New York-based fireworks company pointed out investigators determined it was a faulty firework, not operator error, that caused the mishap. They say they no longer use that brand of fireworks.
In a statement released Tuesday, Bay Fireworks CEO Dennis Brady Jr. wrote: “We have done extensive testing and have completely revamped our existing company protocols to ensure that we no longer meet but instead, far exceed the minimum required safety distances to spectators.”
“We’ve taken some steps, and some very important steps, to increase the safety and hopefully diminish the concerns of the public here,” Ventura County Fire Capt. Mike Lindbery said.
In light of last year’s injuries, the Ventura County Fire Marshal has increased the fallout zone, pushing spectators farther back. They’ve also changed the way fireworks are racked so one faulty shell can’t ignite the whole lot, like it did last year.
Lindbery says the Simi Valley show will also employ the use of sand troughs, which absorb energy.
The president of the Rotary Club, which puts on the show in Simi Valley, told Lazar they struggled with their decision but did their due diligence in making sure this year’s show would be safe.
Bay Fireworks says it is giving the show’s organizers a substantial discount.