by Tashun Chism
Fireworks are big business around East Texas and many people think they're the perfect way to bring in the New Year with a bang. But that may be a problem if you live in Lufkin.
"There is a city ordinance against fireworks. Just possessing them in the city limits is illegal. So you can't possess them or pop them," Lt. Jerry Smith of the Lufkin Police Department told us.
Lufkin police say while the ban on fireworks has been in place for years, it doesn't stop everyone.
Some Lufkin residents aren't aware of the ordinance, while others simply don't care. We found one group of kids shooting fireworks just a couple of blocks from the Lufkin Police Station. For them, the fun and tradition far outweigh the risks of getting caught.
"We pop fire works every year. Every New Year's, every 4th of July...any day that comes with fireworks because we like explosions and we like to have a lot of fun," one of them told us.
"It's always a problem. Every holiday we get numerous shots fired calls. In some cases they're actually gun shots. People who don't have fireworks start shooting. But the vast majority of them are fireworks," Lt. Smith said.
Right outside of the Lufkin city limits, firework stands can be found on both sides of the highway. Most customers are Lufkin residents.
One of the vendors, Austin Culbertson, told us, "People have this kind of mindset that if they're not killing or stealing from anybody, it's not really hurting anybody. The police should be going after those people who are doing drugs or in gangs. They should be focusing on that and not who's popping fireworks."