Advertisement
  1. Nation & World

Miami fireworks show cut short after bomb scare

Downtown Miami cut short its Fourth of July fireworks show Thursday night after a bomb scare prompted police to clear out a nearby road, briefly sending pedestrians fleeing before the situation calmed down. (Miami Herald)
Downtown Miami cut short its Fourth of July fireworks show Thursday night after a bomb scare prompted police to clear out a nearby road, briefly sending pedestrians fleeing before the situation calmed down. (Miami Herald)
Published Jul. 5, 2019

MIAMI — Downtown Miami cut short its Fourth of July fireworks show Thursday night after a bomb scare prompted police to clear out a nearby road, briefly sending pedestrians fleeing before the situation calmed down.

"It's a major disappointment for a lot of people," said Commissioner Joe Carollo, chairman of the Bayfront Park trust that puts on the annual show, one of the largest in Miami-Dade County.

He said a fireworks show scheduled to last 15 minutes ended after seven minutes after city police instructed the launches to stop.

Photo gallery: Fourth of July across Tampa Bay

Jose Solano, the park's executive director, said city police did ask him to halt the show after officers discovered a suspicious package nearby. But Solano said he wasn't able to have a conversation with the operator of the fireworks barge anchored off the park, so the order wasn't relayed. A subsequent call to a city fire marshal did shut down the show just before 9:10 p.m.

"It's disappointing," Solano said. "I understand. They've got to do their jobs."

The scare and surprisingly short fireworks display both played out on social media, with some users posting alarming videos of people fleeing Bayfront Park and others annoyed at the quick ending.

A Miami police spokesperson said she could not confirm information about the agency intervening with the fireworks show. Kenia Fallat said officers did clear out a service road behind the adjoining Bayside Marketplace where the package was found but did not order a widespread evacuation of the crowded park.

A Miami police spokesperson said she could not confirm information about the agency intervening with the fireworks show. Kenia Fallat said officers did clear out a service road behind the adjoining Bayside Marketplace where the package was found but did not order a widespread evacuation of the crowded park.

Miami police dispatched its bomb squad to the area after an abandoned suitcase was reported as suspicious. After 10 p.m., the squad exploded the suitcase and found no bomb. In a tweet, Miami police said the package was "deemed safe."

The false alarm left an entire barge of fireworks unignited in Biscayne Bay. That was going to be the grand finale of one of the best fireworks shows the city would have ever seen, according to its designer.

"Everything was gorgeous, beautiful," said Gary Avins, owner of Firepower Displays Unlimited, a South Miami-Dade company that has been doing the Bayfront show for about 20 years. "I had put in some new effects I had designed this past year."

Avins said one of his crew members took Solano's call, but he brushed off his employee. "I'm in the middle of shooting a show," Avins recalled. "I said, 'Tell him I'll call him back."

Though he's been launching fireworks on the Miami waterfront for two decades, Avins has been in fireworks business for 40 years. Until Thursday night, he said he had never gotten a call from authorities to shut down a show. It was only when the number of a Miami fire marshal assigned to the show appeared on Avins' cellphone that the fireworks impresario realized something was wrong. He told his crew to stop igniting the rockets, ending the display about halfway through.

"This was one of the best shows ever," he said wistfully.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he arrives to speak during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders.
  2. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. [AP]
    As Democrats finished their third day before skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected on Saturday.
  3. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  4. People climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge stop under flags flying at half-mast as mark of mourning and respect in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for three U.S. crew members of an aerial water tanker that crashed Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. [RICK RYCROFT  |  AP]
    The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.
  5. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds redacted documents as he speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. (Senate Television via AP) [AP]
    Prosecutors made an expansive case that Trump abused power like no other president in history.
  6. Health Officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, China’s more-open response to a new virus signals its growing confidence and a greater awareness of the pitfalls of censorship, even while the government is as authoritarian as ever. (AP Photo Emily Wang) [EMILY WANG  |  AP]
    The CDC said the risk to the U.S. public remains low but it’s likely more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days.
  7. In this Oct. 23, 2016, file photo, a New Orleans Saints helmet rests on the playing field before an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) [JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP]
    Saints attorneys disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes, calling such claims “outrageous.”
  8. Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen over 400 in China Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) [DAKE KANG  |  AP]
    On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down in at least 13 cities home to more than 36 million people.
  9. Actress Annabella Sciorra arrives as a witness in Harvey Weinstein's  rape trial, in New York, Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) [RICHARD DREW  |  AP]
    Annabella Sciorra became the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at the trial of the movie mogul whose downfall gave rise to the #MeToo movement.
  10. In this Sept. 2017 file photo, a flag is waved outside the White House, in Washington. The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting a practice known as “birth tourism." That refers to cases when women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) [CAROLYN KASTER  |  AP]
    Applicants will be denied a tourist visa unless they can prove they must come to the U.S. to give birth for medical reasons and have money to pay for it.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement