Posted at: 01/29/2013 5:00 PM
Updated at: 01/29/2013 6:23 PM
By: Ray Levato
Some people thought they heard gunshots ringing out in the darkness near the town hall in Irondequoit Monday night, but they were just fireworks and the town never warned residents ahead of time.
People in Irondequoit say they were concerned that guns were behind that noise Monday night. Should the town have warned residents ahead of time to ease their anxiety?
Some neighbors could see the fireworks going off from their back door, but neighbors on streets further away couldn't see anything in the dense fog. All they could hear was what sounded liked gunshots.
Kent Gardner, Irondequoit homeowner, said, “My wife and I were sitting at our kitchen table and we heard the first sound go off. I did think this was something more than snow falling off someone's roof because it was a pretty loud noise.”
Only when he opened the door did he see that it was really fireworks going off.
Gardner said, “I was surprised. I went to the door. I opened the door and immediately following that I saw the second one go off.”
Other neighbors said they were a bit unnerved by the loud noises and didn't know what they were until News10NBC told them.
Bob Tramontozzi lives right behind the town hall.
Bob Tramontozzi, Irondequoit homeowner, said, “Well, we weren't notified and 6:30 at night is kind of a strange time to be testing fireworks, especially last night. The weather wasn't all that dry, so.”
A town official says they were testing fireworks for safety reasons related to its new salt barn and adjacent machinery garage. It was last June when fire destroyed the town's old salt barn. Apparently, the town was testing the proximity of the old launch site to those new structures.
The town never alerted residents on Cable Channel 12 or its website. News10NBC asked the 911 director, what about using reverse 911 calls?
John Merklinger, 911 Director, said, “We wouldn't typically use it for that. We use that for emergency situations, missing people, serious incidents and those kinds of things.”
News10NBC's Ray Levato said, “Do you think the town owed it to people in that area to notify them about this. It wasn't July 3 testing the fireworks.”
Gardner said, “I think it would have been prudent to let people know. And I think that because of Webster, we are more sensitized to such things.”
Gardner was referring to the shootings in Webster on Christmas Eve morning that left two firefighters dead and two others wounded. 911. meanwhile, said it only received a couple of calls Monday night about the fireworks.
Following is a statement received from the Town of Irondequoit late Tuesday afternoon. "The "test shoot" that occurred Monday night (Jan. 28, 2013), was held for the intended purpose of establishing safe clearances and required separation distances as deemed appropriate by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and Young Explosives. All was done in accordance with NFPA 1123 and the Fire Code of New York State. The four rocket test proved to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Town officials that the radius required for safe discharging of the fireworks on our annual July 4 celebration would not threaten our new salt enclosure.
Prior notification was not given so as to avoid safety-threatening conditions."