Drop in fire calls but has fun gone out of 4th?

Terry Seelig
Terry Seelig
Jontelle Stiles
Jontelle Stiles
Tekilati Palavi
Tekilati Palavi

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was the first real test since the fireworks ban went into effect in Honolulu. The fire department reports the number of probable fireworks-related incidents over the July 4th holiday weekend dropped dramatically. The Honolulu Police Department also saw a huge decrease in calls.

The powder keg of problems sparked by fireworks almost seems like a distant memory.

"We did see, and anecdotally we heard, that there was a lot less illegal fireworks that were being shot off," explains Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, Terry Seelig.

There were far fewer aerials and loud percussive bombs, according to HFD, which reports only four probable fireworks-related incidents over this year's holiday weekend - compared with 27 last year. As in past years, HFD was fully-staffed this time around - with extra equipment on standby. But firefighters didn't need it - suggesting the new fireworks ban is working.

"Perhaps the climate of the new fireworks ordinance will slowly persuade people to enjoy what is legal and appropriate," says Seelig.

Of the four incidents that HFD responded to, one was a rubbish fire and three were wildfires in Waipahu, Waianae, and Mililani. The fire department says there are still two more weekends of amnesty - where people can turn in illegal fireworks with no questions asked.

HPD received 94 calls this year versus 387 last year – a 76-percent decrease. Police only cited one person for illegal fireworks and made no arrests.

But between the fireworks ban and the new alcohol restrictions at the Kaneohe sandbar, some say all the fun has gone out of the 4th.

"We usually burn fireworks, and it was my mom's birthday today, and we didn't get to do anything like that last night. So, it was kind of junk," says Kaimuki resident, Jontelle Stiles.

Kalihi resident Tekilati Palavi adds, "It's usually noisy in Kalihi. That's how you know everybody's having a good time, and it was real quiet."

For others, though, the benefits outweigh the costs.

"It's good. It'll save limbs. It'll save lives," says Dan Sacapano of Waikiki. "It'll save a lot of people injuries they otherwise wouldn't have."

Adds another woman who goes by Ann, "It was good in that you don't hear all the homemade bombs -which get you startled."

Authorities hope folks continue to comply with the news laws once New Year's rolls around.

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