Ocean City fireworks canceled after display explodes on ground hours ahead of celebrations

Fireworks intended to be used for a Fourth of July celebration exploded on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland, detonating hours ahead of the planned Independence Day display.

A firefighter walks along the Ocean City, Maryland, boardwalk after a firework display was unintentionally set off on July 4, 2021.

A fire truck sits on the Ocean City, Maryland, Boardwalk after a Fourth of July firework display was unintentionally set off.

(1/3)

Fireworks intended to be used for a Fourth of July celebration exploded on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland, detonating hours ahead of the planned Independence Day display.

As a result, the Maryland State Highway Administration said fireworks in Ocean City have been canceled.

In a statement, the city said all planned fireworks shows have been canceled “due to an abundance of caution.” Some areas of the boardwalk are also temporarily closed until a safety inspection is complete.

Ocean City Fire said there weren’t any injuries to beachgoers or pedestrians on the boardwalk, but several firework handlers suffered minor injuries.

Shortly after the explosions, police could be seen blocking entry to the Ocean City Boardwalk on the city’s webcam.

In a statement, Ocean City Fire said it responded to Dorchester Street and the beach at 10:30 a.m. for reports of a car on fire. Officials said there wasn’t a car fire, but firefighters found the fireworks display discharging.

Ocean City Fire said the company handling the city’s display was unloading fireworks when one of the fireworks was “unintentionally discharged.” It said the entire display didn’t ignite.

Beachgoers captured video of columns of smoke billowing up from the area where the fireworks were being held as mortars detonated just off the ground.

“Our Fire Marshals are on the scene and will investigate the cause of the unintentional discharge,” said Ocean City Fire Chief Richie Bowers. “Prior to the fireworks being off loaded from the vehicle, Fire Marshals secure a safe zone around the fireworks and put other safety protocols in place. It is this very zone and safety protocols that kept anyone else from being injured.”

Khadijh Bull, who manages the nearby Candy Kitchen, told WTOP she heard a huge boom and the windows shook. Then, smoke appeared.

“It just freaked out a lot of people,” Bull said. “People were on the boardwalk. A couple people started running. And a couple of people were just watching, because they weren’t sure.”

Bull said many streets are blocked off, and some people appear to be leaving.

“You can still do some stuff, but it’s not exactly the same,” she said.

The city said the cause of the fireworks discharge is unknown, and safety inspections could take several days.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

Related Categories:

Local News | Maryland News

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up