The beginning of the new year, and the end of the last is a time for celebrating for many people across Texoma and across the world. To some residents, part of the festivities include seeing off 2013 with a literal bang.
As firework stands begin to open throughout the area in preparation of the new year, fire and police officials warn about the hazards and potential consequences of explosive celebrations during the holiday.
In Sherman, Denison and most cities with Texoma, setting off fireworks is against city ordinance, which will be enforced on New Year’s Eve and Day, said Lt. Bob Fair of the Sherman Police Department. Fair has nothing against the firework displays, as long as they are not done within city limits, he said.
Sherman police do get reports of fireworks around midnight on New Year’s Eve, but they tend to die off quickly, said Fair.
“It is not to the same extent as the Fourth of July,” he said.
For those wishing to fire off fireworks in unincorporated areas of the region, Bill Ray, assistant fire chief for Denison, strongly advised caution with any form of explosive.
“They all are going to be relatively dangerous,” said Ray.
Ray suggested that people fire the fireworks in wide open areas with no nearby buildings and low grass. He also suggested there be ample water handy in case of fire and said children should not be left unsupervised with any form of firework.
At Baaboom Fireworks in Sherman, Hunter Peterson said that sales had been slow at first, but he expected things to pick up as it gets closer to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Peterson said he always gives out suggestions on how to safely enjoy the fireworks he sells, ranging from general safety to specifics for each type of firework.
“These here tend to tip over,” said Peterson, while gesturing to a set of rockets and suggesting they be grounded.
Outside of fireworks, police are concerned with another New Years tradition — discharging a firearm into the air at midnight on New Year’s Day. Lt. Mike Eppler of the Denison Police department discourages the practice, as it endangers people who might be hit by the falling bullets.
“That bullet’s gotta come down somewhere,” said Fair. “We try to discourage that practice.
Simply discharging a firearm is against city ordinance in all Texoma cities, and can result in a reckless conduct charge, said Fair.