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Southport considers cannon policy after man claims hearing damage

READ MORE: Southport considers cannon policy after man claims hearing damage
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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.

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