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No fireworks display this year, city says

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Options for future Fourth of July events being explored

This year’s Roswell Sertoma Club’s Mike Satterfield Memorial Fourth of July Extravaganza will not feature a fireworks display.

“We will not be having fireworks for the Fourth of July Extravaganza,” Joe Neeb, Roswell city manager, said at Thursday night’s City Council meeting. “It is still the Mike Satterfield Fourth of July Extravaganza. We will try to honor all those things that we can.”

In a press release Friday, the city did not rule out using a contractor or another arrangement to put on a fireworks display in future years — but city officials do not plan to have the Roswell Fire Department or any other city department manage the display.

Options for future Fourth of July events are being looked into, including replacing the fireworks display with a laser light show.

City officials hope to discuss with people who have helped put on the Extravaganza, and other community stakeholders, a new event that in future years can serve as a conclusion to the Extravaganza, the press release states.

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The decision by the city comes after Jeff Stroble, 46, a fire apparatus operator and 17-year member of the department, and Robert “Hoby” Bonham, 36, a firefighter with the department for 18 years, were critically injured in a June 5 explosion south of Roswell.

Stroble, Bonham and 10 other firefighters were preparing fireworks for this year’s Extravaganza when the explosion occurred. The 10 other firefighters sustained what were described as minor injuries and were released after being checked out at a local hospital.

At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, Devin Graham, Roswell fire chief, said Stroble and Bonham remain in critical condition and have undergone surgeries at a medical facility in Lubbock.

“They have their good days and their bad,” Graham said, “and their bad days are primarily determined by their pain levels, procedures to be done and the amount of rest they get.”

Bonham is now able to walk around and eat solid foods, but has severe pain and injuries, Graham said. He added that Stroble is expected to need a couple of surgeries a week for a while and is experiencing potentially “catastrophic” complications. However, he said Stroble is doing better than expected.

“The families are strong and full of faith right now for a full recovery,” he said.

Local residents and businesses have shown an outpouring of support for the Strobles and Bonhams since the explosion. As of Friday, $42,056.91 had been contributed by people and local businesses to a Pioneer Bank account set up to cover medical expenses for the families, according to a post on the bank’s Facebook page.

Justin Powell, chief with Dexter Fire & Rescue, stated in a Facebook post Friday that a candlelight prayer vigil for the Roswell Fire Department, and all medical professionals involved with helping treat the injured firefighters, will be held this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Chaves County Courthouse.

The event will include music and prayers. People are urged to bring candles and glow sticks, Powell stated.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.