Tent Damage Reported from Pennsic Fireworks Due to Freak Winds

A freak gust of upper-level wind drove embers from the Pennsic fireworks display eastward into a camping area, damaging several tents. Four thousand people turned out to watch the fireworks on Friday, August 15, at the Pennsic War battlefield. As the display entered its finale, however, a freak gust of wind from the west blew embers onto a camping area (block N21 on the Pennsic map) that should have been well outside the danger area. A number of nylon tents were destroyed as the embers melted holes in their roofs. Flame-retardant canvas tents were spared, with witnesses saying the embers rolled off the tent roofs like rain.

Baron Devon, Pennsic 32 Autocrat, says the fireworks display was about twice as far from camping areas as the government-mandated safety perimeter required. Devon also says the fireworks company is accepting responsibility for the property damage:

"As the Autocrat, I need to add here that the owner of the fireworks company, Scott Cartwright, personally went to those camps, inspected the damage, apologized like crazy and has promised to make good on any damages that were caused by the freak wind shift at the end of the display. (In case anyone didn't already know, we implemented nearly double the state-required safety perimeter, but an odd upper-level wind shift at JUST the wrong moment caused the mishap.) Next year, no aerials over 100 feet!"

Readers have asked how to contact the fireworks company to send thank-you notes or with historical questions. Here is the information:

Scott R. Cartwright MD
Cartwright Fireworks Inc.
1608 Keely Road
Franklin, PA (USA) 16323
(814) 437-5006 (phone & fax)
scartwright@csonline.net

Baron Devon has offered to personally field further questions about the fireworks. His email address is Devon@thescorre.org .

Related story:
http://scatoday.net/story.php?search_id=N-20030818-043738-0002

Editor's Note: I actually knew about this before the original story was written, but could not reveal the information because I had learned of it in a confidential manner as a member of Pennsic staff. I hope SCAtoday.net readers will understand that personal honor and ethics had to come before writing an interesting story. Now that the information has become public knowledge, I am at liberty to offer this follow-up story.
--Justin