After multiple rumors led to much confusion in cyberspace, an attorney for Chris Edgecomb confirmed that a fireworks display Saturday evening was part of the telecom mogul’s 50th birthday celebration at Montecito’s Coral Casino, an event that doubled as a charity fundraiser.
The attorney, Thomas Scarvie, also said that the fireworks were shot from a moored barge at least 1,200 feet from the shoreline of the City of Santa Barbara, not Montecito. The moored barge, anchored somewhere off the coast from East Beach, was patrolled by three boats, Scarvie said. In addition, he indicated “all necessary permits were obtained and both the city and county fire departments were informed of the event and had no objection.”
However, while not making accusations, the Montecito Fire Protection District is continuing to look into the matter, as it appears conditions or restrictions may not have been followed. The exact location of the barge, according to the permit filed with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, was to be 1,000 to 1,500 feet offshore of the Biltmore Hotel. Fire officials are still looking into the barge’s exact location.
Another condition was that all nearby fire jurisdictions be notified, but Montecito Fire did not give clearance, nor did it have any fire officials on standby. David Sadecki, spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said in an email that “the Santa Barbara Water Front is not in Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s jurisdiction.” Jim Piore, fire marshal for the City of Santa Barbara, said that if fireworks were being shot off in the city’s jurisdiction, they would’ve had someone monitoring the pyrotechnicians.
Some members of the public – including many pet owners whose dogs and cats were scared by the show – have expressed frustration in online comments about not being notified about the show. Scarvie, however, explained that the public wasn’t notified because it may have attracted thousands of spectators, complicating safety concerns.