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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

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