Computer glitch blamed in fireworks fiasco

Updated July 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM
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SAN DIEGO, July 13 (UPI) -- A week after a Fourth of July fireworks display in San Diego was ruined when all 7,000 fireworks went off at once, organizers say they know what happened.

An estimated 500,000 people who showed up to watch the annual Big Boom fireworks display, scheduled to last 17 minutes and choreographed to patriot music, were disappointed when the entire lot of fireworks went off in less than 30 seconds.

Garden State Fireworks, the New Jersey company responsible for the mishap, said the glitch was caused by an overzealous backup computer file that overlapped with the primary file to accidentally set off all the fireworks at once, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"Contrary to numerous opinions and theories, the simultaneous ignition was not due to any sabotage or massive computer hardware failure," the company said in a statement.

"The display sequence started exactly when it was expected to and the systems executed the file the way it appeared. Sadly, the file executed was the double file created in the back-up plan download process."

"Everyone's seen their computers crash, everyone's seen their cell phones drop calls," August Santore, Garden State's owner, told

"The only way to correct anything that's not working properly, you have to live it. In this particular case, it's something that was unknown. It's never happened."

The company said it was "heartbroken" to have disappointed the huge crowd that waited hours for the display to begin.

A video of the fiasco did not disappoint on YouTube, however, garnering 4 millions viewings, the Times reported.

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