The Maine man whose 25 unexploded fireworks washed up on a Martha’s Vineyard beach after July 4 lost his license to shoot fireworks and is prohibited from pyrotechnics work in the state for the next five years, the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s office announced Wednesday.
On July 5, 25 unexploded fireworks shells washed up on a beach on Chappaquiddick Island, prompting a response from the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad and local officials, the department said. This was the day after the town-sponsored Edgartown Independence Day firework show.
Anthony Marson of Maine accepted a 10-year suspension of his fireworks certificate of competency, State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said in a statement. Under the terms of the disposition and effective since July 6, Marson’s suspension will last five years with the remaining five years withheld as a probationary period.
Marson’s employer, Central Maine Pyrotechnics, could also face a two-year prohibition if it violates the terms of a licensing disposition reached Wednesday, Ostroskey’s office said. The company waived its right to a hearing and accepted the suspension.
If either Marson or Central Maine Pyrotechnics fail to comply with the terms of their respective dispositions or violate state law or the Comprehensive Fire Safety Code, the part of their suspensions held back will be reinstated, plus they could face new penalties, Ostroskey’s office said.
The shells found varied between 3 to 8 inches in diameter and were “extremely dangerous,” state police said. These shells had the “potential to cause grave physical injury or worse,” Ostroskey’s office said.
Marson and Central Maine Pyrotechnics acknowledged violations of the Massachusetts Fire Code in connection with the show and its aftermath, including requirements for proper disposal of unfired shells and a search the next morning for unexploded shells. An investigation showed the pyrotechnic company may have intentionally thrown the unexploded shells into the ocean, police said.
“Fireworks are inherently dangerous,” Ostroskey said in his statement. “Communities trust professional fireworks vendors to handle these devices with the utmost caution and professionalism. We’re extremely fortunate that no one was injured by the grave public safety hazard that unexploded shells posed on a public beach.”