New deadline for firecracker permits

Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department
Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department
Aiea resident Ward Brewster
Aiea resident Ward Brewster
Kaneohe resident Clifford Chang
Kaneohe resident Clifford Chang

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Consumer fireworks are now illegal on Oahu, but there is also a looming deadline for firecracker permits that could catch some people off guard. More than 4,000 permits had been sold by Tuesday afternoon. The new deadline to buy one for New Year's Eve festivities is December 21. Each permit will cost you $25 at a satellite city hall.

People used to be able to buy firecracker permits all the way up until New Year's Eve. Most sales happened between December 26-31, but now the new deadline is 10 days before the firecrackers are used.

"People will either have to take advantage of tomorrow or they'll miss it and not have any firecrackers," said Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.

That is just one of the changes under a new city ordinance. It is also illegal for anyone under 18 to set off firecrackers, even with adult supervision. The biggest difference is the ban on novelty fireworks. The changes started on January 2, so this will be the first test on New Year's Eve.

"We really don't know if people are gonna have an unbridled exuberance on new years and do things to celebrate in ways we haven't even imagined," said Seelig.

"It's for the best, let's say, as far as people getting injured, buildings burning, things like that. I miss the old time fireworks, like 14 years ago, but that's the way it is. It has gotta be controlled, somehow, some way," said Aiea resident Ward Brewster.

People turned in more than 16,000 pounds of fireworks under an amnesty program this summer.

"But we really don't know, it's impossible to know, what percentage that brought in of the items that were out there," Seelig said.

Stores are still selling items to help ring in the new year with a bang. Colorful boxes of confetti bombs and party poppers had some shoppers doing a double take.

"I said what is this doing here? I was surprised," said Brewster.

After a relatively quiet Fourth of July, emergency crews are hoping for a safe start to 2012.

"We're hoping that people don't go back into buying illegal fireworks, the aerials or other types of fireworks," Seelig said.

"It's kind of sad that it's gone, but in a way it's okay," said Kaneohe resident Clifford Chang.

There are professional fireworks shows around midnight at Aloha Tower Marketplace, Ihilani Resort and Waikiki Beach.

According to HFD, 10,008 permits were sold in 2010.

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