CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Officials in the eastern Iowa city of Coralville blamed a computer glitch Friday for premature explosions that cut short the city's annual Fourth of July show.
The error disrupted the order of the fireworks, sending up multiple bursts at a time. Many were fired at the show's outset, which shortened the Thursday night show and disappointed audience members.
Coralville city administrator Kelly Hayworth said officials haven't determined whether the problem came from the computer's hardware or software. The city spends $12,000 a year on its July 4 fireworks, and Hayworth says the problem hasn't previously occurred.
"The good thing was that everything was done safely," Hayworth said.
Coralville Fire Chief Dave Stannard said officials have ruled out human error as a cause. Stannard said pyro-technicians were able to recreate the error in the program after the show finished, so user error was ruled out as a cause.
"Everything is secured, everything is safe," Stannard said. "It just kind of makes for a short show."
Nick Thorn, an Iowa City resident, said he could tell something was off as he watched the display. He said the show began with "a giant fireball" that looked like it should have been reserved for the finale.
"It was a little bizarre," Thorn said. "My friend had been telling me that the Coralville display is one of the best in the area, but last night it definitely seemed like something was not right."
Thorn said the show continued, but was interrupted by minute-long pauses between explosions. He said the show "fizzled out" without a grand finale. He said he heard eight to 10 more fireworks go off around 11 p.m., after many viewers had already gone home.
"I was disappointed, but it was still fireworks on the Fourth of July," he said. "It just wasn't quite what I was expecting."
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