Pyro Spectaculars

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Pyro Spectaculars, Inc.
Founded1906 in San Francisco, California
FounderManuel de Sousa
HeadquartersRialto, California, United States
Key people
Jim Souza
  • Fireworks Entertainment Show Production
  • Souza Brand Fireworks
Number of employees

Pyro Spectaculars 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, including the largest fireworks show in the United States each year.[1] The company also conducts a series of pyrotechnics classes and seminars to train licensed pyrotechnicians.[2]

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.[3]

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 and "cookbook" [4] 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 Pyrotechnics 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.

Regional offices[edit]

The company maintains regional offices throughout the United States. These locales operate as sales, distribution, and production facilities; the function of the facility is determined by the location. The major offices for Pyro Spectaculars located in the United States are:

  • Rialto, California
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Fresno, California
  • Half Moon Bay, California
  • Spokane, Washington
  • New York/New Jersey Metro Area
  • Hawaii

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.[5] Some of Pyro Spectaculars by Souza’s other well-known shows include:

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


  1. ^ "'Firework, Not Fire Fun': The Serious Jobs of Pyrotechnic Pros". KQED. 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  2. ^ "Training". Pyro Spectaculars.
  3. ^ Pyro Spectaculars partners with Pyrotechnic Innovations
  4. ^ "Meet the family behind America's famous fireworks". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  5. ^ "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

External links[edit]