Videos Show July 4 Display Starting Early as Fireworks Accidentally Explode on Maryland Beach

The Ocean City, Maryland, fireworks show occurred earlier than expected when the fireworks ignited prematurely Sunday morning at a beach, according to video footage.

Several witnesses at the beach captured videos of the premature Fourth of July display around 10:15 a.m. A cloud of smoke can be seen in the videos billowing over the beach where the downtown fireworks show for Independence Day was set to take place later that evening. Colorful sparks shoot off of the sand as the fireworks ignite in a cluster.

No fireworks in Ocean city MD tonight....

— natalie (@natasaurus08) July 4, 2021

One video showed witnesses ducking their heads and shielding their eyes as they go by during the explosion.

The Ocean City Fire Department was called to the beach near Dorchester Street upon a report of a vehicle on fire. Officials said that when the fire department got to the beach, there was not a vehicle fire but instead fireworks exploding.

"There was an unintentional discharge of fireworks that were being set up on the beach for the Town's fireworks show," the department said on Facebook.

Ocean City Fire Chief Richie Bowers noted that no one was seriously injured in the incident, but a few employees handling the display suffered minor injuries.

"During the unintentional discharge, employees of the fireworks company received minor injuries and refused transport to the hospital by Ocean City Paramedics," Bowers said. "No beach or boardwalk patrons were injured."

In one of the several videos, yellow caution tape can be spotted closing off the area, which the fire chief said was there as a precaution as they set up the event. Bowers pointed to the precautions taken to cordon off the area as the reason more people were not severely hurt.

Video from the Ocean City, MD fireworks fire.

— Andrew Doyle (@doyle0213) July 4, 2021

"Prior to the fireworks being offloaded from the vehicle, Fire Marshals secure a safe zone around the fireworks and put other safety protocols in place," Bowers said in a statement. "It is this very zone and safety protocols that kept anyone else from being injured."

The fire department is investigating the cause of the fireworks' unintentional ignition on the beach. Officials said on Facebook that safety inspections of the area are ongoing and may take several days to complete. Parts of the beach and boardwalk are closed while they continue to investigate why the fireworks went off.

The city announced Sunday afternoon that the second fireworks display in Ocean City planned for the uptown show at Northside Park is also canceled "due to an abundance of caution."

Newsweek reached out to the Ocean City Fire Department for more information, but did not hear back by publication time.

Ocean City Beach in Maryland
A firework display was set off early Sunday when the truck carrying the fireworks ignited on the beach. Above, the Ocean City inlet and Ocean City boardwalk are seen on March 12, 2021 in Ocean City, Maryland. Patrick Smith/Getty Images