Neighbors seek to stop Freedom Over Texas show

June 30, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
Thousands of people are looking forward to this year's fireworks show over Houston, but some residents are dreading it, afraid it could end in disaster.

Monday night, the fireworks will launch from Eleanor Tinsley Park. The worried neighbors live close by in the old Sixth Ward.

The 17-minute fireworks spectacular will celebrate the nation's birthday. Just a few blocks from that is Houston's oldest historic neighborhood, which is on edge about the event and the homes.

In a city that prides itself on the new, Sixth Ward is an exception. Many of the homes are from the 19th century. But in this drought, that charm raises a concern.

"When we're looking at old growth wood that's is already dry and crackling because it's been in our house for a hundred years, it's a tender box," said Larissa Lindsay with the Old Sixth Ward Association.

On Monday night, a few blocks from Sixth Ward, the annual Freedom Over Texas celebration will light up the sky, and the homeowners fear a stray spark could spark a fire.

There's enough concern that the civic association advised homeowners to have garden hoses hooked up, a fire extinguisher at the ready and a cell phone to call for help in case there is a fire.

"We did a lot to save this neighborhood, and we refuse to let it go up in smoke," Lindsay said.

The celebration is conducted by pyrotechnic professionals, but to ease neighbors' concerns, the city will provide police to prevent people from parking in the neighborhood to view the fireworks show. That will allow fire trucks entrance should they be needed.

"We're going above and beyond into posting additional personnel and fire equipment over in that area," Said Joe Leggio, a fire marshal inspector.

Leggio also says Sixth Ward is not in the so-called fallout zone for the detonated fireworks.

The president of the Sixth Ward association is still advising neighbors to have garden hoses and fire extinguishers ready to go. Leggio says that's a good idea for anyone during this drought.

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