Poulsbo's fireworks will go on, organizers say

POULSBO — Next week's fireworks literally went up in smoke after a stray bullet hit the container and detonated the fireworks for Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island's 4th of July celebrations, and Silverdale's Whaling Days.

Because of fast action by the firework supplier, more fireworks have been obtained and Poulsbo's 3rd of July is "going forward with a full firework show," said the festival's organizer, Ron Krell of Viking Fest Corp.

The fireworks had been stored at a private junkyard in Belfair. According to Krell, the junkyard's owner was demonstrating his new rifle to his daughter Sunday night. Shooting at something in the yard, the bullet apparently ricocheted and hit a shipping container storing the fireworks.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the incident.

The fireworks supplier, Aurora Fireworks, began looking for alternative suppliers Monday morning and found one in Chehalis to cover the inventory for Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island. However, Aurora Fireworks owner Robert Nitz will have to buy these supplies at a higher retail price.

This incident may be the end of Aurora Fireworks.

"It's devastating," he said. Nitz has been the supplier for Poulsbo's celebration since 2009.

His liability insurance will not cover the cost to replace the three shows’ fireworks, which is now coming out of Nitz's pocket. He became licensed to supply and handle fireworks in 2008 and began this small business on the side because he enjoys it.

"I was getting to point where it was starting to look like I'd make some money," he said. "It's probably not going to be a company after this."

Krell said he is asking that anyone who wants to donate to help Nitz with the fireworks cost can contact Viking Fest Corporation.

The 3rd of July celebration, beginning at noon at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, is presented by the Viking Fest Corporation. The fireworks were funded by a $7,500 grant from Port Madison Enterprises and a $10,000 donation from Dean Church of Liberty Bay Auto Center.


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