SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – Residents living near the set of the movie Safe Haven feel much more comfortable after learning more about the production at a town hall meeting Thursday night.
Film officials are planning to burn parts of the constructed set of "Ryan's Port Market" at Yacht Basin Road.
Some residents had expressed concern with regard to public safety during the filming a scene involving a burning house inside city limits.
Now, residents feel much more better after the Southport Board of Alderman welcomed three members of the Safe Haven production crew to Thursday night's meeting to explain how they plan to film the scene with regard to public health and safety and without damaging any property.
Fire Chief Cumbee says there have been a lot of misconceptions about the size and magnitude of the fire.
He says the film crews will have a special effects team on hand equipped with gas pipes and gas lines to control the fire.
He also said the Southport Fire Department will not be in charge of containing the fire, but rather the special effects team on hand will be there to make sure the structure fire is contained when the building is dismantled.
Southport firefighter crews and the chief will be on standby in case they are needed, but Chief Cumbee said, "I don't think we will have a problem."
Special effects coordinator David Fletcher explained how the process will work, saying that most people are probably concerned because in the Nicholas Sparks novel, Safe Haven, the house that is involved burns down completely to the ground.
He says that that won't be necessary during the movie shoot, because they will not actually be burning the house. They plan to use special effects to make the fire appear larger on the big screen.
Fire will be set to multiple fire boxes surrounding the structure on the water side of the house to ensure safety. Fire boxes will also be placed in every window. He added that the fire will not exceed past those boxes.
Once they film the fire scenes, crews will return and put in ashes and other effects to make the building appear charred.
Some citizens were also concerned about an old tree which is close to the house that will be burned but production organizers assured citizens that the tree will not be in danger.
Fletcher said, "I have control of this fire. If theres anything I don't like, I'll shut it down. My job is to make sure the film crew and all the citizens of Southport are safe."
Another concern was fireworks. Alderman Buddy Barnes expressed concern with the hours of their filming and specifically the fireworks that they plan to set off after the fire scene is complete.
He asked if they planned to be shooting late in to the night, and was concerned the the fireworks could possibly disturb residents.
Fletcher said that shooting will take place between July 23-27. He added, "We have to take our time and make sure we get the shots right, but I will do my best to make sure the fireworks are set off at a decent hour."
In terms of traffic, the Southport Police Chief said the police department has been trying to "expedite traffic as best they can to keep everyone safe and keep the production running smoothly."
Mayor Robert Howard said that it's been great to have them filming scenes in Southport because "It makes a good movie for them and it's really good economically for us."