County Administrator John McCarthy apologized this week in an email to Washington town officials and others for not taking a closer look at the permit application for a private July 18 fireworks display on Inn at Little Washington property.
He also took responsibility for an apparent failure by his office and the county’s building and emergency services office to notify the sheriff’s office of the impending 30-minute conflagration above the meadow west of the Inn at Little Washington Shops at Main and Middle streets.
The display could be seen throughout town and from the hills to the west and south, and heard up to five miles away.
In an email published last week, Inn chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell also said of the fireworks, which were paid for by an Inn regular to celebrating both his wife’s birthday and the patron’s own successful fight against cancer: “No one dreamed it would be so elaborate. Apparently the company wanted to make an impression with us so they decided to knock it out of the park. . . . We certainly would have made our immediate neighbors aware if we had realized how long and loud it was going to be.”
Both McCarthy and Emergency Services Coordinator Richie Burke, who approved the application by William Gibbs of Staunton-based Virginia Sky Painters, said the application and the fireworks display were properly permitted and carried out.