Firework company facing scrutiny after Roy mishap

Monday , August 04, 2014 - 1:59 PM

ROY — City officials say they will get to the bottom of what caused Saturday’s Roy Days fireworks display to go haywire and what they can do to prevent it from ever happening again.

City Manager Chris Davis said the city’s administration will sit down with the show’s producer Fireworks West Internationale to examine what happened.

Tax problems are apparently also a part of the Logan-based company’s challenges.

Saturday night, as part of the Roy Days celebration, multiple fireworks were seen misfiring and exploding close to the ground. Some flew right above and near the hundreds of spectators closest to the launching area.

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Ten people reported receiving burns and other injuries caused by the explosions, several of which were small children. 

Firefighters suspect that one mortar did not fire correctly and knocked the adjacent mortars off course to fire in different directions. Some mortars seemingly exploded on the ground before launching.

Hooper resident Tyson Craven said he and some friends were only a few yards away from the launch area when the explosions started.

“We saw the flames going right over our heads,” Craven said. “At first were joking around about it because we didn't think it was getting out of hand. But soon there were balls of flame landing all around us. We had to dodge a few.”

Fireworks West insures all of its shows, which will most likely cover all the damage caused by the accident. Anyone who was injured or received property damage can file a claim with the city, Davis said.

“They've been doing our fireworks for about 20 years,” Davis said.

Fireworks West is responsible for many of the large fireworks productions around Utah and the region. 

They won a bid to be the main fireworks providers for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, according to their website. Their fireworks have also appeared in shows at Disney amusement parks and the Super Bowl.

Fireworks West Internationale is also the subject of numerous tax liens and judgements pressed in 1st District Court by the Utah State Tax Commission, dating as far back as 2009 amounting to more than $43,000 in back taxes owed, according to the state courts database.

Most recently, just last month the state tax regulators filed four tax liens on Fireworks West. The liens and accompanying judgments filed July 14 list the company as owing $23,690 in back taxes for 2013.

The tax commission filed similar documents last year claiming a smaller amount of taxes owed for 2012. The judgments for more than $11,000 of those delinquent taxes were withdrawn or set aside, according to the court documents, leaving a judgement of $4,773 in place. There was no indication in the court files if that amount was paid.

A Columbus, Montana, company called State FX obtained a judgement in the Montana courts against Fireworks West for more than $17,000 for breach of contract, court files show. The judgment was transferred to 1st District Court in Brigham last summer where it is still pending.

An insurance company in 2011 sued Firewworks West in 1st District Court, which includes Logan, for $10,000 in arrears on insurance payments, judgments which have apparently been paid, according to the court records.

Calls for comment to Fireworks West were not returned.

 

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