Common sense urged during fireworks fun

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fireworks on past New Year's eves won't hold a candle to what could light the night on December 31. Supply is way up.

"I do know that the amount of tonnage that has come in is a lot greater than we've seen in previous years," Honolulu fire chief Kenneth Silva said.

Fire officials estimate 88,000 cases of legal fireworks will come in to Oahu. That's a jump over last year's count of 84,000.

This is the last big bang for novelty firecrackers, fountains and sparklers. A ban starts on January 2.

On Wednesday, warnings went out from city hall.

"Kids still get their eyes injured because of sparklers," Silva said. "Make sure if you have children that are using fireworks that you supervise them properly."

It's illegal to set off fireworks near a school, hospital or church, in a public park, or within 500 feet of any hotel.

To combat black market fireworks like illegal aireals, Honolulu police will have more cops and undercover officers patrolling neighborhoods.

"It's not enough just to see the fireworks go off in the air and we pinpoint the location. We have to see the person actually do it and afterwards be able to recover some evidence to support the arrest," HPD police chief Louis Kealoha said.

If police can make a case the fine is up to $2,000 and maybe jail time.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle is asking people to report illegal fireworks in their neighborhoods.

"If you don't get involved then it's going to continue and other people are going to be hurt. So this is one of those things where we always ask witnesses to have the courage to come forward," he said.

And there's one more warning - don't experiment with fireworks.

"They take them apart. They try to make bombs. They light them and they continue to get hurt," Silva said. "We always preach to leave the fireworks to the professionals."

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