Officials warn about popping off fireworks

Sheriff reminds people to stay safe during NYE

Bobby Florez pops fireworks with his nephew Kaden Perez, 5, as a lightning storm passes by in the distance Friday, July 2, 2021 in Odessa, Texas. Flores and his family began their 4th of July celebrations two nights before Independence Day. (Eli Hartman|Odessa American)

Odessa Fire Rescue and the Fire Marshals Division want to remind all citizens of Odessa that it is illegal to sell, possess or pop fireworks in the city limits.

The warning comes prior to New Year’s Eve as the calendar is set to welcome the year 2022.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis urges people to not only be safe with fireworks, but all facets as people celebrate New Year’s Eve.

“We’ve all had a rough couple of years, so bringing a new year is a good cause for celebration,” Griffis said. “I’m hoping for a happier, healthier new year. Everybody needs to be prudent and use their head and bring in the new year right.”

Fire Marshal Michelle Cervantes said citizens who are caught selling, possessing or popping fireworks within city limits may receive a citation, which is a class C misdemeanor that can result in a fine up to $500.

Citizens are allowed to sell, possess and pop fireworks in the county. Cervantes stated in a press release from the City of Odessa that it is important that if a citizen is going to pop fireworks in the county that they get permission to do so by the landowner.

“When you are going to set them off, as far as igniting the firework, make sure that you position the firework correctly,” Cervantes detailed in the press release. “That way you don’t end up aiming it at a structure or individual. Be very very careful.”

There isn’t currently a burn ban for Ector County, but Griffis said that shouldn’t deter people from making smart decisions with fireworks.

“Shoot those fireworks responsibly and make sure you have water handy in case a fire were to break out,” Griffis said. “I don’t think we are in too bad of shape right now, but it’s still pretty dry.

“When you get done, please clean up your mess. Don’t leave all that stuff out on the roadside or wherever you are at.”