Commissioners Vote on Fireworks Ban

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ECTOR COUNTIES - Rockets, Missiles, and other fireworks may be out this Fourth of July. That's because of dangerously dry conditions. Monday, officials in Midland voted to ban certain types of fireworks. However, Ector County Commissioners say they're playing the waiting game.

Between now and Saturday, Governor Rick Perry is expected to decide whether to issue a disaster declaration in parts of West Texas. If he does, that means all fireworks would be banned. If you already have some, you'll have to put those rockets and missiles away, and find another way to celebrate.

"We're going to have to scramble, but if they do the disaster declaration that they are talking about, that's going to help us tenfold, because they'll be able to restrict all fireworks and that'll help," Jimmy Ellis, Fire Chief for the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department, said.

Ellis said as hot and dry as it's been in the Basin, an accident is just waiting to happen. That's why he said right now any and all firework bans from officials will help this summer.

"That's a fireman's dream, to restrict all fireworks, because without the restriction, we're going to burn our county up," Ellis warned.

"We're using three and four inch mortars which go 300-400 feet up in the air," Nancy Wells, with Main Street Odessa, said.

Wells said she hopes Ector County Commissioners will make one exception for Firecracker Fandango in Odessa.

"We do a very controlled firework situation.  We use professional pyrotechnics.  We have the fire department and police department on site, we're very much on top of it," Wells said.

She hopes she'll get that exemption by the end of the week. But whichever fireworks ban is approved in Ector County, firefighters said they'll have to gear up for what could be a long summer.

"We've been under a burn ban for six months and there is still people burning.  Writing tickets for it is great but they're still going to shoot the fireworks. If they let them sell it, they're going to shoot them where ever they want to," Ellis explained. "And it's going to be real hard to enforce."

Ector County Commissioners have called a special meeting Friday morning to vote on the fireworks ban. Remember, if you live within city limits, Midland or Odessa, you can't sell, buy, or use fireworks at all. If you do, you could receive a hefty fine. Midland County Commissioners voted to ban missiles and any fireworks that have sticks, like bottle rockets.