The Fourth of July fireworks show in Oelwein had to be halted just minutes after it began due to safety concerns. There was a change in location on where the fireworks were shot off: instead of the west side of Lake Oelwein, they were lit on the east side.
Fireworks had been lit on the west side of the lake for nearly 50 years, but campers complained last year of embers hitting their RVs. Debris and burning embers from the exploding fireworks were raining down on the crowd.
Oelwein Fire Chief Wally Rundle says a firefighter monitoring the show told organizers to stop because it was too dangerous for thousands of spectators.
“From what I saw when I drove up up, it was just very unsafe,” Chief Rundle says. “If they hadn’t stopped on their own it definitely would have been shut down by me.”
No one was reported hurt. An official with the Oelwein Celebration Committee believes high humidity caused the mortar bombs to explode at a lower altitude than usual.
No one was reported hurt. The show was initially postponed to Sunday, then canceled altogether. The Oelwein Fourth of July Committee will reevaluate next year’s event
By Dave Franzman, KCRG, Cedar Rapids/ Roger King, KOEL, Oelwein