The fireworks barge that contained Boston's Fourth of July fireworks Monday night erupted in flames early Tuesday morning and raged for about an hour before fire crews knocked it down. The fireworks on the barge were used during the city's Hatch Shell celebration, which was seen by hundreds of thousands of spectators.
The Boston Fire Department rushed to the scene and was able to quell the blaze using marine boats as thick, black smoke spread over the Charles River.
It was not immediately clear what started the blaze. No one was hurt.
The Fire Department said there were still about 15 unexploded charges in a metal canister on the barge.
"We weren't sure there were unexploded fireworks on barge, and it turns out there were," Boston Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Dunbar said.
Firefighters said getting water to the fire was the toughest part.
"It was a lengthy wait for the fire boat to come in because the lock was shut down," Dunbar said.
Firefighters said the fire started in some wood framing that held the mortars that were used to shoot the fireworks. One firefighter said it's not uncommon for sparks to remain after a fireworks display.
The production company that runs the show said safeguards were taken Monday night, and the tubes on barge were checked five to six times to make sure embers were not smoldering.
The fire department said the protocol will change next year.
"In the future, they will have to keep people on the barge to make sure it doesn't happen again," Dunbar said.
Investigators are looking for the cause of the blaze and divers were in the river near the barge checking for environmental damage.
Some morning traffic was affected as fire crews and police blocked off part of the Massachusetts Avenue bridge heading toward Cambridge in order to fight the fire.
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