WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - One resident says there are fires every year.
The Fire Marshal calls them a constant.
On a holiday that should be fun and exciting, some Wichita County residents feel nothing but worry about what the Fourth of July fireworks will bring.
The Wichita Falls Police Department has issued an early reminder of the city ordinance regarding fireworks. Setting off or possessing fireworks is not allowed in city limits.
The rule leaves residents feeling like they have few options for how to celebrate the holiday.
Some choose to go outside the city and set off fireworks in open fields, worrying country-side residents.
“It scared my dog every year," said Wichita Falls resident Beth Parnell. “My dad had to constantly worry about and make sure idiots didn’t set the countryside on fire. One year it was so dry out there he literally sat out with a garden hose and made sure our backyard didn’t go up in flames.”
Others choose to set them off illegally in the city, causing possible personal and property damage.
Fire Marshal David Collins said the increase in call volume causes slower response times from emergency vehicles for those in critical emergencies, like car accidents or heart attacks. He said the department has had years where they’ve had 95-100 calls every hour.
“It takes us away from what might be a greater call that in some cases, that some of the people won’t be able to respond to because they’re busy working fires that were started by fireworks,” said Collins.
Parnell and her friend, JJ Mcelhannon, agree that people should be able to set off fireworks, but that safety for yourself and those around you is the first priority.
“They are a lot of fun to do it yourself, but it's very dangerous if you’re not in an area that’s already prepared,” said Parnell.
“Above and beyond everything we want them to be safe,” said Collins.
Collins also warns everyone to not take the unusually wet weather as a sign the grass won’t burn. He says it doesn’t take long for fields to dry up to dangerous levels.
Fireworks sales cannot legally begin in Texas until June 24th.