ODESSA, Texas–2021 is coming to a close and a lot of people want to celebrate big, but it can be dangerous, all while creating some confusion. As some people are mistaking fireworks for gunshots.
“It is illegal to possess, manufacture, or sell fireworks, within the city limits of Odessa. And you cannot do that within 5,000 feet of the city limits,” says Odessa Police Department’s Cpl., Steve LeSueur.
Many people want to end out the year with a bang by shooting off those fireworks, but local police want to remind you that you have to shoot them off in certain areas, and even then, they may still get a phone call about it.
Heavy use of fireworks tends to fall on the two biggest nights of the year, the Fourth of July and New Years Eve. Along with these holidays, come some important precautions.
“We have responded to fires in the past that have resulted from fireworks so, there’s a reason why they are illegal here within the city limits. But there is a safe way to set off the fireworks, it’s just not here in the city limits,” adds LeSueur.
Not only have fireworks been known to spark fires and cause damage to their surroundings, police also say fireworks can cause confusion as people think it’s gun shots.
LeSueur mentions, “whether it’s fourth of July or new year’s day, we always experience an increase in shots fired calls and fireworks calls. And a lot of times it is hard to differentiate.”
While it may be difficult to differentiate between the sounds of fireworks and gunshots, The Odessa Police Department says they’ll respond to every call regardless, so long as within the cities limits.
“More than likely the vast majority of calls, will be in reference to fireworks, however OPD will be enforcing it,” says LeSueur.
Overall, OPD wants everyone to enjoy themselves on New Years Eve, but also wants to make sure you’re staying cautious.
LeSueur continues, “we just want to remind the public that there is a safe way to do it. So, we want people to have fun, but we want it to be done in a safe manner. But just keep in mind that our goal is not to issue as many citations as we can, our goal is to prevent fires from occurring and other dangerous things from happening.”
Lastly, police say don’t hesitate to contact them if you have a concern. And just as a reminder, you could be fined up to $2,000 if you shoot off fireworks within city limits.