Local Fireworks Feud Over Short-Changed Shows
GREENFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — A fireworks feud is brewing after two western Massachusetts towns were short-changed after their Fourth of July displays were cut short. Greenfield and South Hadley officials both say they did not get all the shells they paid Atlas Pyrotechnic in exchange for.
The show in Greenfield went off, but not as long expected. Town officials, suspicious of how many fireworks Atlas Pyrotechnic delivered, counted each shell both before and after the show.
“We had a discrepancy of about 700 shells, somewhere in that area,” Mayor William Martin said.
Martin says the town now realizes it’s not the first time Atlas has fallen short.
“We reviewed our records over the past couple of years and we find that that was an ongoing pattern, therefore we have some serious concerns about the breach of contract,” Martin said.
But Greenfield’s not alone, South Hadley also used Atlas. Their show fell about 220 shells short.
“The day of the show our fireman who is categorizing everything coming off the truck called me and said it appeared to be short,” Recreation Director Andrew Rogers said.
Atlas says in South Hadley, they designed a show that included larger effects, reducing the number of smaller fireworks.
“It was a good show at the time but it wasn’t what we asked for, it wasn’t what they promised us,” Rogers said.
The town was refunded 30% of the thousands they paid Atlas. In Greenfield, Atlas admits it was a company oversight. Mayor Martin is withholding any more money owed to Atlas, is insisting on a full refund, and is considering banning Atlas from next year’s show.
“We certainly don’t want any of the funds misused and so we are going to protect those funds that are donated just like we’d protect the funds that are collected from taxpayers,” he said.
Atlas released a statement tonight saying “Both communities have enjoyed our displays for many years without any problems and we feel their successful fireworks displays are part of our overall commitment to the entire fireworks presentation.”
ABC40 is told Atlas also did Northampton and Amherst shows. ABC40 could not reach Amherst organizers Thursday but Northampton representatives tell us while they can’t be sure if their exact contract was followed, they were satisfied with the show.
Both Greenfield and South Hadley say they choose their fireworks vendor through an open bid process, which will be open to any company to submit a proposal for next year.