Kyle investigates more into Fourth of July firework botch

By Katie Burrell

Kyle’s Independence Day festivities ended with a bang, literally, after the vendor’s fireworks show went awry. Now, Kyle city leaders are deciding how to proceed.

On July 15, Kyle City Council members met during a regularly scheduled council meeting to publicly discuss their concerns with Chad Stanley, the general manager of Pyro Shows of Texas, and the city’s parks department.

Kyle’s July 4, Independence Day Fireworks Show experienced an explosion approximately 10 minutes into the scheduled 30-minute performance. The fireworks were supposed to explode in the air, but this year, the show happened on the ground. The next day, videos surfaced of residents running from the incident and holding up objects that had flown toward them.

Kyle’s fire department was at the scene and reported no injuries, according to a report provided to the Hays Free Press the next day.

At the meeting, Councilmember Rick Koch reported more issues that he said need to be addressed. According to Koch, the show was shortened the day of the event to include the same number of fireworks but in half the time.

“At this point, regardless of the mishap, it looks like a breach of contract,” Koch said. “I mean, I’m just playing investigative reporter here, trying to find out.”

The contract states the show would perform for 30 minutes with no music accompaniment, but, according to Kerry Urbanowicz, director of parks, recreation and facilities, music was sent to the city that was only 16 minutes and was said to be for the show. Urbanowicz passed the information on to other staff members.

Urbanowicz was asked if he had requested that the show be shortened. He said he did not and that no one had asked for the show to be changed. Only Urbanowics and Stanley were authorized to make changes to the show, but Stanley said there might have been miscommunication about the contract to his staff.

On the day of the show, Mayor Travis Mitchell and Koch were invited by Pyro Shows of Texas to visit the fireworks area. Mitchell and Koch said that, at that point, they discovered the issue with the length of the show being changed. They said that likely would not have discovered the discrepancy later given the show’s explosion, halting the night’s festivities.

According to Stanley and council member Daphne Tenorio, it was not allowable for civilians, including council members, to be near the fireworks. There is currently no report that the council members touched or influenced the equipment.

“It was a simple mistake and it was all on us,” Stanley said. “We could have lengthened the show to 30 minutes right before the show happened had we known.”

Stanley said the presence of council members was not an issue for the fireworks and did not have any influence regarding the malfunction. According to Stanley, the malfunction was an issue with the equipment; he was not able to provide more information as to how or why the explosion occurred.

Now the council is deciding how to proceed. Stanley has offered to redo the show for the original length for free but, according to staff, the council is considering requesting a refund for the $30,000 spent on the show.

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