According to Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen, the department stepped in to help make possible the culminating, and most anticipated, segment of the festival, its fireworks display.
With the site surrounded by wooded areas and, beyond that, homes, organizers of the event were concerned the dry conditions at the site and the near triple digit temperatures might prove to be a fire hazard.
At that point, Herendeen, who had already assigned an emergency medical unit to patrol the site and respond to any individual medical emergency, directed that a fire engine and its three-man unit, including the officer in charge, Elton Poss and firefighter-paramedics Joe Tritt and Tara Walker, proceed to the fireworks launch site and completely saturate the area to prevent any sparks from the fireworks display igniting the dry underbrush.
“The fireworks launch site was in the woods and, despite organizers having conferred with the fire marshal about the fireworks display and having all the documentation, we thought it would be better to take an extra step of saturating the launch site area,” Herendeen said.
“We just wanted to make sure the area was thoroughly soaked down.”
The process took about 40 minutes, which allowed the fireworks display to proceed with no problems.
Herendeen had also directed a second medical emergency unit be brought in to work the festival due to the heat.
The reaction of the youngsters to the fireworks was all the reassurance Herendeen needed that he had made the right decision.
“It was awesome,” said 10-year-old FreedomFest attendee Jonathan White, son of Larry and Ilisha Wright.
His father said the family had been attending FreedomFest for four years dating back to when the event was called SummerFest.
“Being with my family and having live entertainment and kid’s activities for Jonathan to take part in makes this event one we hope will continue,” he said.