Birthday Fireworks Display Shakes Ellicott City, Columbia Saturday Night

The display involved more than 400 fireworks, according to the fire department.

A private fireworks display off of Springhaven Court on Saturday night caused a flurry of reactions on social media.
A private fireworks display off of Springhaven Court on Saturday night caused a flurry of reactions on social media.

A fireworks display at a private residence off Springhaven Court in Ellicott City caused thunderous booms over eastern Howard County around 9:50 p.m. on Saturday night, leading to hundreds of reactions on social media that prompted a county response.

"Many residents have reported hearing loud 'booms' throughout the county this evening," wrote the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services on its Facebook page. "County fire marshals were on scene and a permit was issued for the event, which lasted approximately 10 minutes."

The fire department said Monday the display included 160 3-inch salutes, 120 4-inch shells, 110 5-inch shells and 64 6-inch shells.

Residents responded to the fire department's notification asking they be warned next time. Some likened the booms to war or a train crash; many said it frightened their pets.

"[We] Heard [it] in east E.C. (but no fireworks were visible) and our house shook from the rumblings," wrote Diane E. Goodridge, on the fire department's Facebook page. "We weren't sure if it was another Star Spangled night in Baltimore Harbor or an earthquake, or fireworks."

The fire department said in an email that is the responsibility of the person who received the fireworks permit to notify the neighborhood.

"For this event, the planner was instructed to canvass the Farside and Gaither Farm neighborhoods adjacent to the launch site," wrote Maria Hogg, a fire department spokesperson.

A call to the permit holder Monday afternoon was not immediately returned.

On Facebook, the fire department wrote Sunday, "we could have done a better job informing our community that the event was going to take place. As we all share and learn about the use of social media as a method to keep our community informed, we at HCDFRS apologize for creating any concern by the citizens and visitors to our County."

The fire department said the fireworks were for a birthday party.

In a typical year, the county's fire marshals process less than five requests for private firework displays per year, according to the department.

In order to receive a permit, the host must hire a professional pyrotechnics firm, have the launch site reviewed by a fire marshal, obtain a minimum insurance coverage of $5 million, and end all displays by 10 p.m.

In this case, Pyrotechnico from New Castle, PA, was hired to shoot the fireworks.

EL January 06, 2014 at 08:18 PM
What happens when it isn't over by 10PM? Who monitors this? Cause I am not positive, but am pretty sure it was after 10 that we were still hearing the booms!
Robin L. Brodkin January 07, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Nobody really as far as I'm concerned. When people use them illegally calling to report it is useless since by the time anyone gets here everyone is gone. It be good if they realistically could. But they can not.


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