YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Executives with Phantom Fireworks said they are working with local and federal investigators after someone called the company’s Youngstown headquarters Tuesday night with bomb threats.
On the day before the Fourth of July, it’s business as usual at Phantom Fireworks.
“We are a quintessential Fourth of July business. If we don’t make hay while the sun shines, we’re out of business,” said Phantom Fireworks Vice President Bill Weimer.
This, despite a pair of threatening calls made to the company’s world headquarters on Belmont Avenue around 8:30 p.m.
Police said a man on the phone told a receptionist there was a bomb in the building and to get out. Then about three minutes later, another call came in from the same man, who said, “Tic-tock, tic-tock, tic-tock,” according to a police report.
The calls prompted staff to evacuate while the Youngstown Bomb Squad and an explosive-sniffing K-9 went through the building.
“Oh, it’s a cowardly act,” Weimer said.
Although crews didn’t find anything in the office building and no threats were made at any of the company’s 79 showrooms in 15 states, executives aren’t taking any chances.
“We have beefed up security at all of our facilities across the country,” Weimer said.
The calls came on the heels of a tweet from President Donald Trump, thanking Phantom and its CEO, Bruce Zoldan, for donating fireworks for Thursday night’s big Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C.
Although authorities are not tying the threats to that, they’re still investigating.
“Fortunately, most of the time, bomb threats are just what they are — threats,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene. “It’s a…type of terrorism.”
A number of Sheriff Greene’s deputies work security at Phantom showrooms in the area as side jobs.
Although Greene has no involvement in their hiring, he admitted the threats will bring a heightened awareness.
“The officers there, I’m sure, are paying a little bit extra attention when they’re doing their jobs,” he said.
For now, Phantom executives said they will press to have whoever is responsible for the calls prosecuted.