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CBS 2 Goes Behind The Scenes With A Crew Of Fireworks Technicians

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Fireworks techinicians from the Grucci Company prepare mortars for a fireworks show at New Rochelle on July 4, 2011. (Credit: CBS 2)

Fireworks techinicians from the Grucci Company prepare mortars for a fireworks show at New Rochelle on July 4, 2011. (Credit: CBS 2)

Lou Young headshot Lou Young
A native New Yorker, Lou Young joined CBS 2 in June 1994. He has...
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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Dozens of communities in the Tri-State were planning big fireworks shows after sundown Monday, with crews preparing for the big night.

CBS 2’s Lou Young went behind the scenes to catch up with some folks who truly love their dangerous work.

Loading the mortar tubes on an island in New Rochelle Harbor, six guys from the Grucci Company formed one squad in an army of pyro technicians at work in America on the Fourth of July.

Each of the workers was a part-timer, carefully trained, and they said they’ve been drawn to the noise, light and smoke since they were boys.

“I got the pyro bug from my father – he was a demolition guy in construction,” fireworks technician Vince DiCarlo said. “So that got me hooked. Ever since then, I’ve loved fireworks.”

DiCarlo is a contractor. His co-worker, Nicholas Liacono, is a bartender.

“I want to do this,” Liacono said. “I did my first show the other day. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

Every tube and every shell goes off according to a script that was written back at Grucci headquarters in Brookhaven. While the show goes on, the technicians will be under a shed, keeping everything on schedule.

“Gives you a feeling like a rock star,” crew chief Jim Lipp said. “When it’s over, the boats blowing their horns, and people cheering for something you did. If you can’t sing, dance, play an instrument, this is it.”

The show will last 22 minutes, and the biggest shell will rise 600 feet above the harbor.

The crew worked a fireworks show in Astoria two nights ago, and have a job in Tuckahoe coming up – and they love every minute of it.

“It’s awesome, it’s awesome,” technician Tom Tucholski said.

Fourth of July fireworks are fun, but they’re expensive. The show in New Rochelle costs the city roughly $30,000, plus overtime for firefighters and parks personnel.

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