Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | 7:41 a.m.
- Fourth fireworks light up valley sky (7-4-09)
Fourth of July coverage
Magician Steve Wyrick is blaming a pyrotechnics supplier for a fire that broke out during a July 4 performance in Las Vegas, injuring a crew member and causing the failure of a high-profile trick.
Wyrick and his company Wyrick Magical Productions Inc. filed suit Friday in Clark County District Court against Pyritz Pyrotechnics Group LLC.
Wyrick's suit said he had contracted with Pyritz for Pyritz to furnish equipment and labor, including licensed pyrotechnics operators, to provide a pyrotechnics display for his "Death Drop" trick at Planet Hollywood hotel-casino on the Fourth of July.
The performance promoted a new tattoo parlor and was witnessed by hundreds of onlookers on the streets and sidewalks in front of Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip.
Wyrick was to be shackled and locked in an equipment box. The box was supposed to be hoisted into the air, supported by a few thin ropes and dangled over a bed of flaming spikes 80 feet below. The ropes were supposed to be set on fire, with Wyrick making his escape before the last rope broke.
But things didn't go according to plan. As crew members went to light the ropes, a black netting that was shielding the box from view caught on fire. Emergency personnel responded and the box was taken away.
One cast member was treated for minor injuries by on-site paramedics. A helicopter landed on the Las Vegas Strip after the fire, presumably responding to the medical emergency, but Wyrick then appeared from the helicopter.
"Pyritz breached the contract by failing to provide a pyrotechnics display that operated properly and which detonated prematurely, causing a fire that destroyed a portion of Wyrick's trick props and that placed Wyrick's staff in peril," Wyrick charged in the lawsuit.
A request for comment was left Monday with Pyritz Pyrotechnics, which is listed in state records as having a North Las Vegas address. The managing member of the company is Garden State Fireworks Inc. of Millington, N.J., state records show.
Wyrick's suit alleges breach of contract, negligence, failure to indemnify Wyrick for his damages and defamation because the incident allegedly damaged Wyrick's reputation.