Fireworks Company Puts ‘Boom’ In Independence Day

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UPDATED: Wednesday June 26, 2013 8:01 PM

Fourth of July is just around the corner, and residents will gather to celebrate by watching fireworks displays all across central Ohio.

It is not only a big show in the sky, but it is big business for some.

Ken Sprague has been successfully selling fireworks at his Lancaster location for 33 years.

From a small office in the back of the retail operation, Sprague is the mastermind of shows that will dazzle thousands.
 
His Hamburg Fireworks staff of six full-time employees explodes to 200 around the holiday.

10TV followed a Hamburg Fireworks team to a Clippers game for a presentation that, like all Hamburg shows, began at a remote central Ohio storage facility.

Sprague told 10TV that it is a higher class of explosives at the warehouse. It is also where the equipment building takes place throughout the year.

Hamburg Fireworks produces 250 shows a year and each is different.

There are some detonated entirely via computer, and others which are hand-lit one fuse at a time.
 
One constant is safety, according to the company.

Sprague said employees are taught to never lose respect for what they are handling.

"One of our biggest philosophies, when handling fireworks, (is to) make sure they treat them like eggs,” Sprague said.

Sprague knows all too well what one mistake can mean in the fireworks business.

The company avoided a potentially deadly disaster nearly six years ago.

It was less than two weeks before Independence Day that year, and Hamburg Fireworks burned to the ground.

Damage estimates rendered two-thirds of Sprague’s entire supply destroyed.

"I looked at my dad and thought, ‘Dad, what are we going to do?’ I can't imagine us being able to pull off July the Fourth", said Sprague.

Within days, truckloads of donated equipment came in from all over the country. Hamburg Fireworks never missed a show.

The City of Lancaster knows all about the fireworks company.

Hamburg provides fireworks for the Fourth of July as well as the Lancaster Music Festival each year.

“The reason I still do it is because I still love being able to be a part of fireworks and the tradition in America, or I wouldn't do it," said Sprague.

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