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DeBary will get its 2019 fireworks show at no charge, thanks to a settlement with the pyrotechnics company that handled the city’s botched 2018 display.

Creative Pyrotechnics LLC of Orlando will accept only the city’s $10,000 down payment on the 2018 show, and won’t pursue the additional $10,000 DeBary originally owed for that event.

DeBary City Manager Ron McLemore described the settlement agreement at the Dec. 5 DeBary City Council meeting. The council voted to approve it.

To the disappointment of DeBary officials and people gathered at Gemini Springs to celebrate American independence in 2018, the fireworks display was canceled because of safety concerns.

The fireworks loading site was waterlogged due to monsoonlike rains, and that raised fears of out-of-control explosions, especially since the fireworks were to be launched by an electrical charge.

The risk of explosions close to spectators prompted DeBary Fire Chief Ronnie Long to recommend scrubbing the display.

McLemore’s follow-up investigation found Creative Pyrotechnics had violated its permit, by placing the launch site too close to grain silos in the park, and was negligent in preparing the site.

The settlement also calls for Creative Pyrotechnics to prepare future fireworks launch sites in time for inspection by the city, and to “take all action and precautions necessary to ensure that the fireworks shows can be fully performed despite standing water and wet ground conditions.”

The agreement also names Creative Pyrotechnics as DeBary’s July 4 fireworks contractor for Independence Day celebrations in 2020 and 2021, as well as 2019.

The city’s settlement with the fireworks vendor, however, does not provide relief for merchants and companies that had paid to sponsor the failed July Fourth celebration at Gemini Springs.

Several DeBary and area businesses had signed on, including food and beverage concessions. Their hopes for a profitable event were dashed.

“Each one of them would have to make their own case,” McLemore told The Beacon, when asked about compensating merchants for their losses of time and money. “They individually would have to go after them.”

On a related note, the DeBary City Council also held back on a proposal to name Festival Designs, an Ormond Beach company, as the events manager for its next July Fourth celebration.

Instead, the City Council is requesting proposals from other private companies or individuals interested in organizing and promoting DeBary’s July 4, 2019, celebration.

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Born in Virginia, Al spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and first moved to DeLand in 1969. He graduated from Stetson University in 1971, and returned to West Volusia in 1985. Al began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government and, when he left his job as the one-man news department at Radio Station WXVQ, began working at The Beacon full time.

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