Tuesday, July 6, 2021


PEMBROKE: Assistant fire chief recalls Saturday night fireworks truck explosions, fire

By BRIAN QUINN-bquinn@batavianews.com

Pembroke Fire District Assistant Chief Ed Mileham was ready to go to bed Saturday night when he heard what he first thought was thunder.

“I live over on Indian Falls Road and this was over on Lake Road between Scribner and Cohocton (roads). It was definitely a loud bang at first ... Then, it just kept (going) and then the tones went off,” he remembered this afternoon.

The assistant chief said he had been listening to the weather forecast and that no storms were expected, and people would be able to sleep with their windows open. However, the noises he heard were from explosions and fire involving a truck carrying fireworks on South Lake Road, between Scribner and Cohocton roads. The truck was coming from a fireworks show in Akron. Mileham said he lives about 3 miles away from where this happened. The call came in before 11:45 Saturday night.

“I go right to the scene because I’m an assistant chief. I went directly to the scene and Pembroke already had one of their trucks on location and had started putting water on it,” he said. “It was like a box truck that you make deliveries and stuff in.” Mileham said he didn’t have the name of the driver or a company name. The driver was unhurt.

“They had a show in Akron and then when they were done they wait around to make sure everything is cooled down and nothing else is going on,” Mileham said. He said he was told equipment used for the fireworks display was packed into the truck first.

“They wait an our after the show to make sure everything’s cooled down ... to make sure one of the fireworks that didn’t go off is not going to go off when they load it up. Any residual fireworks that they didn’t use or extra ones they had go in the back of the truck and then he goes home,” the assistant chief said. Mileham said he doesn’t know how many fireworks they packed into truck leaving Akron. He estimated the explosions and fire happened about 10 to 15 minutes after the truck left Akron. “Akron’s not that far. Akron’s probably 8-10 miles, if that, from where the fire was,” he said.

Mileham said he believes the truck was destroyed by the flames. “On the back passenger side, the box was blown out, the rear door was blown out and so was the roof. There was probably about 1,000 feet of debris in the road and in the yards of people living in the area,” he said.

“There was maybe four to six residences. It’s pretty well cleaned up. Dadswell’s (Pembroke Towing) the tow service that came out. They did an excellent job cleaning up as far as the roadway goes. The roadway’s clear. If you drove through there, you’d never know that anything happened there last night.”

The assistant chief said when he drove back through the scene this morning to check on it, he spoke to residents who said they found debris in their yards. “They were picking it up and piling it out by the edge of the road. They weren’t upset or anything like that.” The assistant chief said dispatchers got several calls from people reporting explosions and fire from the vehicle. “The box part was fully involved,” he said.

Mileham said firefighters were on scene from about 11:45 p.m. Saturday to about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. “We called Corfu Fire Department for traffic control and manpower. There was an assistant chief from Alabama who also helped with traffic control at Route 5 and Lake Road,” he said. He referred questions about the cause to the county Sheriff’s Office.

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