This year’s Fourth of July fireworks presentation on Whitefish Lake included a surprising flare during the climactic finale.
A low-bursting firework sparked a small fire on the barge floating offshore near City Beach during the popular annual display, which attracted a few hundred spectators.
Professional pyrotechnicians operating from the barge dove into the water unharmed and members of the fire department, who were in a nearby boat, doused the flames within a few minutes, according to Whitefish Fire Chief Tom Kennelly. No one was injured. The decking on the city-owned barge was damaged, but Kennelly says it still floats.
Pyrotechnicians from Big Sky Fireworks, a full-service pyrotechnic entertainment company based in Helena, conducted the fireworks display.
The small fire provided a prime opportunity for the city’s new fire boat to show its capabilities in action. The Whitefish Rural Fire Service purchased the boat last year for rescues and other operations on the busy lake, including fire suppression through a 2,000-gallon-per-minute hose. The organization donated it to the city.
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