Broken Bow Volunteer Fire Department Sets up for Fireworks

All proceeds from the BBVD go to the fireworks display.Eight inch canister await the large shells.Lance Coble of the BBVD shows an 8 inch firework shell.Ryan Franssen, who will be three in September, is on hand to help dad Joe Franssen.John Taylor unpacks the shells.
Staff Writer

Several members of the Broken Bow Volunteer Fire Department (BBVD) are taking a good chunk of time during the holiday weekend to prepare for and set off the city's fireworks display Monday, July 4.

284 shells, 3 inch to 8 inch in size, are being wired and placed in canisters for the show. "You use caution. You never know with explosives," Kem Oatman, Broken Bow Fire Chief said.

Once the shells are in place, they cannot be left unattended. Someone will be with them until they are fired.

Jess Taylor, BBVD, transported the shells to Broken Bow and trained others how to prepare the fuses.

A flat trailer bed filled with canisters ranging from 3 to 6 inches in diameter will hold most of the shells. A roll-off filled with sand holds seven 8 inch canisters. The trailer and sand give the firemen the ability to position the firing of the explosives, taking into account wind and weather.

The show will begin at dusk, sometime after 9:30 p.m. It's estimated that it will last approximately 20 minutes. There may be a few shells that are set off afterwards. If a shell doesn't explode during the display, the fire department will try to set it off after, explained Chief Oatman. Unexploded shells left over must be turned over to the Nebraska State Patrol for disposal.

The fireworks display requires a 1,000 feet setback. The fire department will be barricading and roping off the area around the firing station. The restrooms will be unavailable during the show at the park. Other areas off limits during the show are the pool and the dock on the pond.

The firework display is funded by the sale of fireworks at the BBVD fireworks stand in downtown Broken Bow. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the stand go to the display. The Lions Club also donated a portion of their proceeds from their stand to the city display.

Setting up the display Monday afternoon were Oatman, Taylor, Nick Coble, Jeff Pflaster, Chris Evans, Andy Taylor, Zeke Atchison, Joe Franssen, Bobby Harrold and Lance Oatman.

Oatman said that the firemen who will be setting off the display will be in full bunker gear at the firing station. The gear consisting of helmet, bunker jacket and pants and boots is estimated to weigh nearly 50 pounds.