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Midnight fireworks startle residents

Loud booms caused by tardy filming crew woke surrounding locals, officials say

Posted: October 20, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Loud booming noises scared many Santa Clarita Valley residents just after midnight Tuesday, after a television crew filming at Magic Mountain set off fireworks later than they were supposed to, officials said.

“It sounded like a war zone for like 10 minutes,” said Greg Jelin, 39, who added the fireworks woke him up during his first night of sleep after days of insomnia. “I was woken up by Baghdad in Stevenson Ranch.”

AND Syndicated Productions was filming and episode of “The Bachelor” when it set off fireworks in a Magic Mountain parking lot about 15 minutes past its pre-approved time, said Todd Lindgren, vice president of the nonprofit organization FilmL.A. that issued the permit.

The permit allowed the film crew to use fireworks from 10 p.m. Monday to just before midnight. But the fireworks began booming and crackling about 12:15 a.m. on Tuesday, he said.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received several calls about the fireworks from residents who did not know where the noises were coming from, said Deputy Robert Wilkinson.

Jelin said he was most upset at the fact it was a surprise.

“I think some kind of community communication could have been in order so that people could just sleep with their windows closed or not be startled by it,” he said.

Lindgren said residents weren’t informed because of a misunderstanding that fireworks at that time of the night were a usual occurrence for the theme park.

“We don’t have a lot of experience coordinating fireworks at Magic Mountain,” Lindgren said.
Lindgren said does not know why the fireworks were set off later than the time agreed upon, but administrators are working on resolving the issue.

The organization is in talks with representatives from Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office about how to make sure something similar won’t happen again, he added.

“We don’t want residents adjacent to Magic Mountain to be caught unaware by future filmings,” Lindgren said. “We’ll work to make sure they’re given advance notice.”

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