Thousands Celebrate Fourth In Boston

By WGBH Staff & Wires

Jul. 5, 2011

Fireworks shoot skyward behind the Hatch Shell during the Boston Pops 4th of July concert rehearsal in Boston on Sunday. (AP)

BOSTON — Hundreds of thousands of revelers with American flags and picnic coolers descended on the Esplanade in Boston on Monday for the annual fireworks show and Boston Pops concert.

About a half-million people attend the yearly event, which includes a traditional concert by the Boston Pops and a rendition of the "1812 Overture" during the start of the fireworks display over the Charles River.

People started staking out spots on the Esplanade early Monday, and police closed roads around the Esplanade and portions of Storrow Drive.

But Monday's display wasn't the end of sparks for the Charles: A fire broke out on a fireworks barge in the river Tuesday morning was quickly doused.

The fire was spotted at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday on the barge that fired off Boston's July Fourth fireworks Monday night.

The Boston Fire Department's harbor unit responded and quickly had the blaze under control within an hour.

There were no reports of injuries but the fire sent thick black smoke billowing across the river. There was no immediate word on the cause.

The festivities occurred alongside a violent weekend for Boston, with two people dead and at least nine injured by gunfire by the weekend's end.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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