Beachgoers warned of dangers after fire on fireworks barge in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH (WHDH) - Officials are warning beachgoers on the South Shore to watch out for firework shells after two barges carrying fireworks caught fire in Plymouth Monday night.

Witnesses watching the Fourth of July show in Plymouth said the fireworks went on for about 10 minutes before everyone saw a huge explosion. One man who was watching from his boat in the harbor said the explosion made his boat shake.

“A bunch of fireworks were going off and we saw a huge explosion,” said Michelle Gautreau. “And then it was a fire that lasted a good 20 minutes.”

The Plymouth Fire Department said there was some sort of malfunction on one of the barges that started a fire and the second barge also had a problem.

The fire marshal concluded that a shell inside a tube on one of the barges detonated, causing a sort of chain reaction. Atlas Fireworks, the company that put together the fireworks, said it operates safely and does not know why one of shells would have misfired.

No one was injured in the fires. State laws require the fireworks to be ignited electronically, instead of manually, and no one was on the barges at the time.

Officials sent out a warning to residents on Tuesday:

“The fire on the barge during the July 4th fireworks display resulted in many of the fireworks not being exploded / detonated. Due to this unforeseen event, there will be a number of firework shells that will wash up on the shore at the beach, most likely Long Beach, although there could also be some at Nelson’s Park, Stephen’s Field and other Shore Locations. The Town is making every effort to clean these up immediately. However, the tides could wash up more over the next few days. The Plymouth Fire Department and Police Department are strongly advising people do not touch these firework shells. Please call the Police or Fire Department immediately and report where you have seen these fireworks and the Town will have them professionally removed.

Again, we are asking that residents and visitors do not touch these fireworks as they could be dangerous and could result in serious injury if they were to explode. Please call and report any sightings so that the Town can properly remove and destroy them.”

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