Fire officials 'pleasantly surprised' at number of illegal fireworks turned in

Richard Kotaka
Richard Kotaka
Capt. Terry Seelig
Capt. Terry Seelig

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

WAIAU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Illegal aerial fireworks were among the pyrotechnics turned in at the Waiau Fire Station Saturday, the first day of a fireworks amnesty program on Oahu.

The program was started to encourage residents to turn in any illegal or unwanted fireworks, no questions asked. It will continue again Sunday, and for three more weekends at designated stations. (See schedule below.)

People arrived in a steady stream during the turn-in period at Waiau, handing over their sparklers, fountains, and other items over to firefighters, who put them in a pile under a tent to await pickup by the Honolulu Police Department's Specialized Services Division, which will dispose of the items at an undisclosed location.

"There are some firecrackers here, but the rest of it, the vast majority, is not allowed any longer on Oahu," said Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

According to the law that took effect January 2, firecrackers are allowed with a permit. But everything else is now illegal on Oahu.

The Fire Department said it collected at least 400 to 500 pounds of fireworks Saturday at four fire stations, including Waiau, Waianae, Waipahu and Kapolei.

Pearl City resident Richard Kotaka was among those who came in. "It's going to be quiet, for sure," he said about the coming New Year's Eve, laughing.

"Less smoke, year?" he added. "That's good though, because my grandson has asthma, things like that, so you kinda worry about them."

Others who came in weren't so sure.

"There's always going to be illegal fireworks no matter what," Clayton Batangan said.

Authorities aren't sure whether the fireworks brought in are a big portion of what's been stashed away.

"We don't know what it represents, really, if this is just a small percentage of what's out there, of if it's a larger percentage. We really don't know," said Seelig. "But we're encouraged by the fact that people are understand and willing to turn in these items that are illegal and dangerous."

Officials weren't sure what to expect, but said the amount of illegal fireworks collected was very good, and encouraged others to bring in their illegal fireworks.

"It can't be used legally outside, but if you're just going to keep it, you're just putting yourself and the community at unnecessary risk," said Seelig. "So, thank you to the folks who brought this stuff in."

Fireworks will only be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., only at the following locations on these dates:

June 18-19    

  • Kapolei Fire Station, 2020 Lauwiliwili Avenue
  • Waianae Fire Station, 85-645 Farrington Highway
  • Waiau Fire Station, 98-1109 Komo Mai Drive
  • Waipahu Fire Station, 94-121 Leonui Street

June 25-26

  • Kahuku Fire Station, 56-460 Kamehameha Highway
  • Kailua Fire Station, 211 Kuulei Road
  • Kaneohe Fire Station, 45-910 Kamehameha Highway
  • Waimanalo Fire Station, 41-1301 Kalanianaole Highway

July 9-10

  • Mililani Mauka Fire Station, 95-1990 Meheula Parkway
  • Moanalua Fire Station, 2835 Ala Ilima
  • Sunset Beach Fire Station, 59-719 Kamehameha Highway
  • Wahiawa Fire Station, 640 California Avenue

July 16-17

  • Hawaii Kai Fire Station, 515 Lunalilo Home Road
  • Kakaako Fire Station, 555 Queen Street
  • Kalihi Kai Fire Station, 1334 Nimitz Highway
  • McCully-Moiliili Fire Station, 2425 Date Street

Fireworks may not be dropped off at nondesignated fire stations.

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