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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The firing of a historic cannon is a tradition in Southport. But after a man claimed he suffered permanent hearing damage from the cannon, the city is considering a new policy for future blasts.

“It’s going to be loud,” said Phil Fravel, a member of the cannon firing team. “We use about eight ounces of powder. We don’t shoot anything out of it, and it does make a noise. There’s no doubt about it that it makes a noise, but any normal person would realize that.”

According to a complaint to the City of Southport, Carlton Allegood of Wilmington says during a Memorial Day visit, standing about 40 feet away, the cannon caused permanent hearing damage.

“He said he put his hands over his ears, and when we fired, the concussion from the gun knocked the hands from his ears, and he became deaf,” Fravel said.

For the past 13 years, this cannon has fired hundreds of times. This is the first time the city has had a complaint, but does that really warrant a new policy?

“Can you be too careful? Not really,” Southport Alderman Ken Karn said. “I think there was room for improvement in some of the policies and procedures.”

Fravel has a different perspective.

“Personally, I just think he’s trying to get money from the city,” Fravel said.

The Board of Aldermen will discuss whether to implement a new policy next month. Until then, the city is confident folks will be cautious

“They make the announcement that the cannon is going to be firing, and if you’re at an event and you know the cannon is going to be firing,” Southport Mayor Robert Howard said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise.”

The firing squad says the cannon will be fired three or four times over the next few days for NC 4th of July Festival.

We called Carlton Allegood this afternoon, but hid not want to comment on his complaint. He did however, appear to hear us just fine on the phone.

Comment on this Story

  • Vog46

    From an acute event like this? Hardly.

    They need to take this guy, put him in a rowboat with a big target painted on his back and practice ……..yep….firing the cannon.

    Best Regards

  • burgerboy

    knowing those libbers at southport, after they fire the cannon they make sure it gets unemployment, welfare, a pension, disability, HUD, foodstamps, and all that other stuff.

  • Guest2264

    I suffer from hearing loss. I must wear hearing aids in both ears, they help some. I suggest the town insist that he gets hearing tests by 3 different companies, with someone in the town with him during the tests. That will prove if he truly has a hearing loss. Of course, did he have this loss before the event? If he is able to hear clearly on the phone, it’s a bit skeptical to me……

  • justin

    Next time, he should stand in FRONT of the cannons….problem solved.

  • Guestin

    Because your mom isn’t there to hold your hand how about let’s sell ear plugs for a certain area near the cannon and its a win for the one who sells ear plugs or don’t so we don’t have to listen to idiots like this guy claims he is deaf now and then. I planning on suing candy companies because I gained so much weight……lol jk

  • Wilmington Observer

    This is exactly what is wrong with our society. Just because a small minority complains, or is offended, it does not mean the rules have to be changed in such a way that the majority suffers.

    If something has been done (in this case the firing of a cannon) for 13 years and you only have a handful of complaints, that is a good thing. Grow some balls and say, “cannons are loud, you should have had the forethought to walk away when the announcement was made that it was about to be fired”.

    Don’t ruin it for everyone because of one person.

    Wilmington Observer

  • but we both agree that the cannon was going to be loud, this guy had to know it, had to be standing too close to it, and didn’t protect himself enough by putting distance between himself and the cannon. It “appears” that this was his own fault, not the city’s nor the cannon’s.

    People today want someone to blame for their own stupidity. No wonder they call this era the “Age of Entitlement”.

  • Wed in Southport

    Just want to say the cannon was fired twice at my wedding, one time right next to me and my husband, and our hearing is just fine. Our guests had no idea it was being fired and they are all just fine too.

  • Wade Griffis

    I live way over here in Wilmington and it has destroyed my hearing also. I believe that Southport should send me a check.

    That would be important, because I want to hear all the blather from the politicians during the election this year. A hearing aid would be nice..

  • GuestPerson

    I bet this man can “hear” just as well as he could before he watched the cannon fired the weekend that he “claims” that his hearing was damaged. When you are in close proximeter of a cannon being fired, you know it’s going to be loud. He is “looking” for an addition to his retirement fund. Maybe we all would visit the next cannon firing, and see how many people are not affected by it.

  • Guest of those who know better

    I hate it when I’m in close proximeter. It makes me want to hide under a wheel barrel. Hah!

  • As a former Police Officer for Southport, I can remember one call I answered about that cannon. A man and woman that lived near the Garrison where the cannon is fired from called to complain that the cannon “upset their dog” when it was fired! They went on and on about how the dog would run and hid under the bed ETC! So, I asked them ” what do you do when it thunders”??? LOL, They did not like my question and complained to the city about my question. Needless to say, it fell on death ears……pardon the pun!

  • Csatro

    What a f@”*#ing run for some money this is. Kinda makes you sick to think some people have nothing better to do than try to pull off something like this to ruin one of the fun things a town trys to do to add some color. The canon blast blew is hand from his ears, sure I am not hearing you right man…duh…

  • Mudcat1275

    Stay in ST James……………………..

  • Guest2020

    If the cannon fire bothers you, stay away from it.

  • Guest Reply

    Award this man with a Canon printer for his computer…maybe that would please him.
    My brother used to “POOT” so loud when we were kids…it back fired and ruined his hearing!
    As for the man with hearing loss…maybe he will have a hearing for his hearing in court.
    They could wrap egg cartons around the barrel next time. That will muffle it. Was “Teen Mom” in any way associated with this event doing something stupid just to make the news again…and where did the cannon ball land after it was shot???
    If there were any Civil War soldiers still living…WWAY could ask them how they dealt with cannon sounds…but they are all dead by now.
    Blah Blah Blah!

  • “He did however appear to hear us just fine on the phone”……

    Great parting shot there Marissa!!!! However…”appear” would be visual and unless you saw the man holding the phone you would not know if he “appeared” to be able to hear you. Apparently it seemed as he did though!!!! That was still a good last sentance and it made me chuckle.

    I am so sick of the lack of personal accountability of people today. Step up and say you were standing too close to the cannon and it was loud….but don’t blame the cannon or the town!!! That is ridiculous!!!

  • JimBob


    It’s funny how we have our own private meanings of specific words. You may want to check a dictionary on the word “appear” as it doesn’t necessarily demand visual.

    As to the person making the complaint, I was recently at Ft. Macon for the firing of three 30-Pounders, each with a five-pound powder charge per firing. I expected them to be loud and produce a strong concussion. I wasn’t disappointed. I know the guys of Andrew’s Battery who fired the middle gun, and none of them have complained of hearing loss from those firings.

  • GuestE

    It is very sad for me to see that people in this beautiful country claim more and more often some kind of remuneration for their stupidity. Where is their own responsibility, why should someone else pay for their poor judgement whether it is standing too close to a cannon or climbing inappropriately on a ladder and falling down? It is nobody’s else responsibility, but their own and nobody should pay for their stupid judgement!

    Be responsible people! Leave the someone’s else liability out of those things! This is so sad how nobody these days is proud enough to say, ‘hey I was stupid, it is my own fault’!

  • Wade Griffis

    HAS anybody out there heard of sarcasm? Of course I do not want anything from Southport other than deliverance from fools!!!

  • ChefnSurf

    … and it felt as if it had blown all the clothes off my body. Now I’m scared to leave the house ’cause some people might think I’m naked with no real clothes on. Even though I never liked my job, soon I can’t even be going there ’cause I’m feeling naked all the time. Without that job, how’m I gonna buy beer for my anxiety?

    Where do I sign up to get some of that money from $outhport?

  • divedigger

    firing the cannon is part of the charm of Southport and should not be dissuaded by one person trying to make a problem. If you really want something to complain about, go to the fireworks show and sit on the hill in front of the garrison and get an buttload of sandspurs. Maybe that will convince you to stay in Wilmington and quit taking up our parking places.

  • enoughalready

    I am pretty sure that the news article stated the man was from WILMINGTON, not St. James. Why must you bring St. James into something that they are not a part of it? I know some Southport/Oak Island people have an issue with St. James b/c of some of the people’s “demeanor” but come off of it, i have met some of the nicest people on St. James and yes i have met rude people as well, BUT, I have met my fair share of ignorant and rude people in Southport and Oak Island. Its funny that you all bash St. James but what type of charity work do you do for the community, oh also i am sure you are one of those types that go to their annual “Garage Sale” at BCC. I just love people like you who bash St. James but next thing you know you are golfing on their golf courses. Bravo! Now i am sure you are thinking I live in St. James, well my friend let’s just squash that now, I do live in Southport. I am sure you are just jealous of them…


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