Pyro Spectaculars

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Pyro Spectaculars, Inc.
Founded 1906 in San Francisco, California
Founder Manuel de Sousa
Headquarters Rialto, California, United States
Key people
Jim Souza
Products Fireworks Entertainment Show Production, Souza Brand Fireworks
Number of employees

Pyro Spectaculars by Souza is an American pyrotechnics and fireworks company with its primary offices in Rialto, California. They are one of the largest fireworks companies in the world today. Jim Souza is the President and CEO of the company, which was founded in 1979 by his father, Bob Souza. The company shoots hundreds of shows each year in multiple countries. The company also conducts a series of pyrotechnics classes and seminars, which are known as Pyro University.

In 2013, Pyro Spectaculars formally partnered with Pyrotechnic Innovations, a leading fireworks training and recruitment company, to form a cutting edge operator recruitment, training, and retention program.[1]

Manuel de Sousa.
Manuel de Sousa

Family history[edit]

The Souza family (formerly de Sousa) has been involved in the fireworks industry since the first decade of the twentieth century when they immigrated from the Azores to the San Francisco Bay Area. The patriarch of the family, Manuel, began making his own fireworks out of his home and firing shows for local Portuguese community festivals. As his business began to grow, the entire family became involved in the production of fireworks, enabling him to pass his trade down generationally.

Manuel’s son, Alfred, was recruited by the U.S. Army when WWII broke out due to the chemistry and pyrotechnic skills he had gained in the family enterprise. After his release from the service, he began to produce and shoot local fireworks shows throughout California.

Company formation[edit]

Alfred’s son, Bob Souza, followed in his father’s footsteps, eventually creating Pyro Spectaculars by Souza in 1979. Bob was a two-time President of the American Pyrotechnic Association and the recipient of its lifetime achievement award. His son, Jim Souza, took over as president and CEO in 1989.

Pyro Spectacular by Souza is currently one of the largest pyrotechnics companies in the world, producing shows for events like the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup, World Series, and Macy’s Fourth of July Spectacular. They also produce pyrotechnics and fireworks for cinema, music videos, and touring musical acts. The company produces pyrotechnics for hundreds of shows for smaller events as well, such as community events, graduations, and weddings.

Major shows by Pyro Spectaculars[edit]

Pyro Spectaculars is responsible for the annual Macy's 4th of July spectacular fireworks display in New York City, frequent shows at stadiums, and has been contracted by film crews to design shows for movies. The company's largest film contract was for the 1998 film Meet Joe Black, which made such an impression on star Brad Pitt that he later hired Pyro Spectaculars to produce a fireworks display for his wedding to Jennifer Aniston.[2] Some of Pyro Spectaculars by Souza’s other well-known shows include:

  • Macy’s 4 July Spectacular (annually)
  • 100th and 125th Anniversaries of the Statue of Liberty
  • 1994 World Cup
  • 1994 Pink Floyd Concert Tour
  • 1996 Summer Olympics
  • Opening and Closing Ceremonies of 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games
  • 2004 Summer Olympics
  • Several Super Bowls
  • Disneyland and Disney World
  • Six Flags chain of amusement parks
  • Astroworld
  • 50th Birthdays of Golden Gate and Oakland Bridges
  • President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in Washington
  • Apocalypse Now, for which they received an OSCAR from National Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 50th Birthdays of Golden Gate and Oakland Bridges
  • Seattle Space Needle New Year's Fireworks: 1992–Present
  • World Wrestling Entertainment Pyro: 2008–Present

Types of pyrotechnics[edit]

Pyro Spectaculars by Souza produces a variety of effects for different events. They create their own brand of fireworks—which are only shot at their shows—including a brand of HD fireworks designed with the camera in mind for television audiences. Their other effects include:

  • High-level shells
  • Low-level effects
  • Rockets
  • Fireballs
  • Fire rings
  • Confetti cannons
  • Cryogenic effects

Related links[edit]


  1. ^ Pyro Spectaculars partners with Pyrotechnic Innovations
  2. ^ "Computer glitch put hitch in fireworks". Seattle Post Intelligencer. 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-04. Technicians set off commands by hand for Space Needle event