Tulsa RiverParks Working Out Fireworks Settlement

Monday, July 6th 2009, 4:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK - There is more fallout from Tulsa's disastrous fireworks show.  RiverParks officials are still negotiating with the fireworks company over the unpaid portion of the show.

The fireworks show cost $45,000 and every penny of the money was donated.  For months, Tulsa taxpayers were asked on their utility bills to help make sure the show could go on.  Now, RiverParks says they will not be cutting a check to pay for the Freedom Fest fizzle this weekend.

07/05/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Fireworks Show Fizzles

Hundreds of fireworks exploded, not hundreds of feet in the air, but right on the 21st Street Bridge while they were still sitting in their launch tubes.  Fire spread across trailers holding thousands of other shells and crews called off the show after 10 minutes.

"I mean we only saw about a fourth of the show, so we should pay a fourth of the cost," said Matt Meyer, RiverParks Authority Director.

RiverParks officials budgeted $45,000 for the event.  That money came from corporations and citizens who donated for the cause.

"We did not pay $40,000 up front; we paid a $10,000 down payment, which is 25%. And, I personally don't see any reason why we would pay them any more," said Matt Meyer, RiverParks Authority Director.

RiverParks went with a new company this year, A&M Pyrotechnics out of Missouri.  Meyer says they made the decision for economic reasons.

"Basically, this spring, our staff put it out to bid. So we could see this year if we could get the best cost, and that's what we did," said Matt Meyer, RiverParks Authority Director.

RiverParks officials and A&M representatives have been on the phone working out a settlement.  Meyer says A&M has been apologetic over the mishap.

"The guy who's in charge of this crew says he's done 130 shows and never had this happen before. But of course, it happened the other night. And of course, we're disappointed," said Matt Meyer, RiverParks Authority Director.

Meyer says they won't be using A&M Pyrotechnics for next year's Freedom Fest.

The News On 6 contacted A&M Pyrotechnics, and a representative says they've been on the phone with Tulsa working out a settlement.  When asked if the malfunction was due to human error, the representative repeatedly said the company had no comment.