Ocean City fireworks display explodes prematurely; July 4 shows canceled

Christine Condon
Baltimore Sun (TNS)
A sign greets people as they travel towards the drawbridge over the bay to Ocean City in May 1999.

Both of Ocean City’s official Fourth of July fireworks shows have been canceled after a large amount of fireworks exploded prematurely on the beach Sunday morning.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the explosion, which left some of the professionals setting up the show with minor injuries. Those individuals declined to be taken to the hospital, and no other people walking on the beach or the nearby boardwalk were injured, according to the Ocean City Fire Department.

The blast occurred while officials prepared for Ocean City’s downtown fireworks show, near Dorchester Street and the boardwalk, but officials opted to also cancel the city’s other official show, held at Northside Park on 125th Street, out of “an abundance of caution.”

In a news release, the town’s fire department applauded the safety procedures followed before the explosion.

“Prior to the fireworks being off loaded from the vehicle, fire marshals secure a safe zone around the fireworks and put other safety protocols in place. It is this very zone and safety protocols that kept anyone else from being injured,” Ocean City Fire Chief Richie Bowers said.

Officials have established a perimeter around the site of the explosion and closed a part of the boardwalk to foot traffic while they investigate, according to a town news release. The closures could persist for a few days.