Hersheypark fireworks spark brush fire, end show early

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – The Fourth of July fireworks at Hersheypark came to an early end after the show sparked a brush fire.

Thousands who gathered to watch the 20-minute show Tuesday night were disappointed when it ended after only 10 minutes.

“They always have the grand finale and there was no grand finale, so we figured something must have malfunctioned, something wasn’t working right,” Tina Krayville said.

Hersheypark said in a statement that an ember from the fireworks ignited some dry, cut grass on the hillside below Hershey Gardens and “out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to not resume the fireworks for the evening.“

Firefighters were ready to battle the blaze. Between Hershey and South Hanover, 30 men and seven trucks rushed in to help.

“It was the combination of the dry grass and fireworks,” said Rodney Sonderman, deputy fire chief of the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company. “There are still hot embers that come down and sometimes they make contact with the ground.”

If you set fireworks off at home, think safety first.

“They can not only start the grass on fire but their home or neighbor’s home on fire when debris lands on the roof and they don’t see it,” Sonderman said. “So people need to exercise extreme caution.”

Sonderman said to aware of your surroundings and weather conditions. Dry conditions and fireworks can be a dangerous mix.

As for spectators, they’re happy the show happened at all.

“As we pulled out of the parking lot at Milton Hershey School, people were cheering for us,” Sonderman said.

Hersheypark officials said they have been putting on this show for decades and don’t plan to stop now. The park will review the incident, make any necessary changes, and the show hopefully will go on for years to come.

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