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Home owners erupt over Alamo Fireworks store

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The Ellis County Press

OVILLA - Homeowners in the Cumberland Forest addition are worried an Alamo Fireworks store will reduce property values, raise insurance rates and be potentially deadly given the close promiximity to houses.

However, the general manager of Alamo and City of Ovilla officials have blamed 'misinformation' as the cause of the outcry.

It was believed at first, according to Cumberland Forest resident Mike Roig, Alamo would build a 5,000 -square-foot warehouse full of explosives.

In reality, according to Alamo's Charles Justice, the facility would amount to nothing more than a retail store - a 'glorified fireworks stand,' as

Justice described. Additionally, much of the contents would be stored in Alamo's main building, located in Red Oak.

Besides, Justice said, if anything inside did catch fire, it would burn out.

'Our fireworks are made out of 90 percent clay and paper, with only 10 percent being the actual powder,' he said.

'Because our ceilings will be so high, the fire would just amount to nothing more than a small paper fire - it would put itself out.'

The City of Ovilla cannot enforce ordinances because the fireworks store is situated in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction, or area just outside a city limits.

Homeowners threatened to obtain attorneys to stop Alamo from building, but it is unclear whether they would continue that plan.

'There's nothing we can do to stop them,' said Ovilla City Administrator Scott Campbell. 'I've been on the phone with [many] homeowners trying to [clear up] the misinformation.'

Justice and members of the homeowner's association met Friday, May 9 to diseminate the misinformation going around.

'There's all sorts of stuff going around,' Justice said. 'People just aren't aware of what that really is going to be. But I can assure you Alamo Fireworks is doing everything it can to [effectively] work with the residents living nearby.'

Nestled in a field an estimated 200-feet from Ovilla Road, the store would only be open during two holiday weekends: July 4 and December 31.

Though the city cannot enforce the building's construction, or restrict what is sold, Justice has allowed Ovilla Fire Chief Donnie Pickard to randomly check the facility; for safety reasons, Justice said instead of the state-mandated four fire exits, there will be six.

Aside from the inspections, the OFD will also be allowed to use the building - when it's not in use - as a fire training facility.

'Alamo will also be sponsoring every Spaghetti Dinner from now on,' Justice said, referring to the Ovilla Service League's annual police department fundraiser.

'I don't have to do any of this, but I want to be a good neighbor. I want to work with the people of Cumberland Forest, and the city of Ovilla,' Justice said.

'It's a glorified fireworks stand. The fireworks I sell don't blow up, so trying to get through the misinformation will be key.'

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