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City Cancels Birthday Fireworks

Cancellation of Alexandria's fireworks display last Saturday evening, scheduled to be the concluding event of the city's Independence Day celebration, was due to a lack of time in conducting the necessary safety check not any malfunction with the display itself, according to Steve Mason, city public information.

"There was not going to be time to conduct all the necessary inspections by our team and we were not going to do things in a hap hazard manner. We chose to err on the side of caution," Mason said.

The decision to cancel the pyrotechnics was made "a little after 4 p.m.," according to Mason. The display was scheduled for 9:30 p.m. "We wanted people to have plenty of time to decide upon staying or not," he said.

"There was a problem with the set up. There was no problem with the fireworks themselves and it was not related to any of the problems experienced in other Northern Virginia jurisdictions on the fourth," Mason said.

"Everything went on schedule except for the fireworks and the symphony concert was pretty much of an explosive event in its own right," Mason said. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performed its full concert concluding with Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" accompanied by cannon blasts which kept the audience entertained and near peak capacity, according to Mason.

Mayor William D. Euille said there will be fireworks in the city within the next 60 to 90 days. Mason verified that city officials are considering that display to occur during or at the conclusion of the 2007 Festival of the Arts on Sept. 8 and 9. "However, the actual decision will probably be made within the next week," he said.

The company retained by Alexandria, Fireworks Productions, Inc., was not associated with any of the Northern Virginia holiday events. The city's annual display is conducted from a barge in the Potomac River.

"We not only have to be concerned with the safety of our citizens and those attending our celebration but also we have to coordinate with officials at Reagan National Airport and the D.C. Fire Department, since D.C. has jurisdiction of the river. If we can't do it right we don't do it," Mason said.