Fire crews report more fireworks related blazes

Capt. Terry Seelig
Capt. Terry Seelig
Shelley Asao
Shelley Asao

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With all the fireworks welcoming the New Year Friday night, Honolulu fire crews were ready as always. And with many of those fireworks now illegal on Oahu, it was no surprise that firefighters responded to more calls than they did a year ago.

"We were busier, but most of it was nuisance fires, rubbish or dumpsters," said Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.

According to Seelig, fire crews went out on 81 calls Friday night and early Saturday morning; 36 of them were fireworks-related. By comparison, there were 68 calls a year ago, with 30 of those related to fireworks.

Seelig said there was one new and disturbing development involving some of the 19 rubbish fires reported. "A lot of these rubbish fires were actually piles or rubbish, put into the street and set on fire, either with fireworks or without," said Seelig. "And these piles were composed of a bunch of debris, including furniture."

In Kaneohe, an illegal aerial firework is being blamed for a blaze that caused about $15,000 in damage to a temporary carport and its contents, which were mainly collectibles, including old glass bottles, football cards and record albums. The fire was reported at around 8:30 p.m. New Year's Eve.

Resident Shelley Asao went through the collectibles, which belonged to her husband. They were in the temporary garage while a new garage and storage shed were being built

Asao was at home by herself when her next door neighbor's son alerted her to the fire. He also saw what started it.

"The same neighbor boy that was calling for me to get out of the house, he said he saw an aerial land in the center of the car port, and instantly it went into flames," Asao said.

No one knows exactly who shot the aerial. The fire melted the vinyl siding of the home, but the fire was generally contained to the temporary garage.

Asao is looking forward to the next New Year's Eve, one with fewer fireworks.

"I know there'll be some illegal fireworks, but I hope that they are more aware of the impact that it has on other people. And it could be them. It could be their neighbor, their friends or their family," said Asao.

It won't be a completely quiet New Year's a year from now. Under the new fireworks law,  firecrackers will be allowed, but a permit will be required.

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