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Computer glitch blamed in San Diego fireworks boom that went bust

A technical glitch caused all of the fireworks to go off in one big 15-second bang in Sand Diego, igniting outrage after spectators were told to go home.

A computer glitch apparently caused the fireworks mishap that disappointed thousands of people who camped out to watch the Big Bay Boom in San Diego's Glorietta Bay Wednesday night, when they got more of a Big Bay Bust.

Hours after the fireworks malfunction, August Santore, co-owner of Garden State Fireworks, told San Diego morning television stations, “We apologize to all the residents and all the people who missed their fireworks.”

About 5 minutes before the show was supposed to start, a sudden burst of fireworks shot into the air near the bay. Throughout downtown San Diego, a large rumble could be felt just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday night.


It appeared that hundreds of fireworks were set off at the same time. The explosions lasted a few seconds.

At about 9:20 p.m., people waiting for the display were told to return home. The fireworks show was canceled, a radio announcement said.

See the original report at NBCSanDiego.com

Port District authorities said a "technical difficulty" resulted in all the fireworks going off within 15 seconds, just minutes before the show was scheduled to begin.

"We sincerely apologize for the technical glitch that affected the #BigBayBoom. Event producers are currently investigating the cause," read a Tweet from the Port of San Diego.

Watch RAW video of the Big Bay Boom here.

Santore said the problem was not a malfunction of the pyrotechnics and it was not human error. 

The crew was up all night testing and retesting to find out what happened, he said, and they are "pretty confident" there was some sort of glitch in a computer program that was downloaded into all five systems coordinating the fireworks at all five stations.

The company has backup plans if the display doesn’t ignite but there is no backup plan if the fireworks ignite prematurely, Santore said.

The show took several months of planning.

"No one feels worse than us,” Santore said. “We don’t look for anyone’s sympathy, we accept 100% responsibility.”

"We were hired to perform and do a contract and there is no excuse," he said. "We will get to the bottom of it. It’s not something we take lightly."

Santore has offered to do a makeup fireworks display at no cost to the Big Bay Boom Committee, which produces the event.

Santore told NBCSanDiego.com that Big Bay Boom thanked Garden State for its generosity, but no plans were in place. Santore said his company may end up producing the Independence Day show next year for free.

Here's a collection of responses from social media users who witnessed the seemingly botched display: 

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