Some Waipahu residents say fireworks ban backfired, increased danger New Year's Eve

Matt Gushiken
Matt Gushiken
Fred Fukamizu
Fred Fukamizu

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some Oahu residents say the new fireworks ban actually increased the level of dangerousness in their neighborhoods on New Year's Eve since fireworks enthusiasts had to come up with other ways to celebrate.

Several communities reported a much quieter New Year's Eve, but Waipahu wasn't one of them. Matt and Tracy Gushiken consider it a miracle they weren't hurt by the revelers in their neighborhood.

"They're using shotgun shells, so we're getting shrapnel," Tracy Gushiken, Waipahu resident, said. "Matt was working on the truck and it's like it's raining pellets."

The couple believes the new city ordinance backfired by driving more people, who used to be content with sparklers and fountains, toward illegal aerials and homemade explosive devices.

"It's creating a situation where people are getting dangerous," Tracy Gushiken said.

Then-City Councilmember Gary Okino was among those who voted for the ban in 2010.

"I think it's working," Okino said Monday. "I think it will take several years. It's just going to take some enforcement."

"We initially called the police about 10 o'clock at night," Matt Gushiken, Waipahu resident, said. "They came by and they talked to the people that were setting off the big explosions. It stopped for 30 minutes, and it started up again."

"The fire department reported their cases, you know, numerous calls, more than normal, what they expected," Fred Fukamizu, Waipahu resident, said. "But the police department never says anything about how many illegal arrests were made, and yet there's a whole bunch of illegal fireworks going on."

A police spokesperson on Monday said, "HPD is, of course, concerned about people using homemade bombs. We are in the process of compiling the arrest and citation figures, and will be releasing them later on this week."

"It's illegal. Why are we breaking the law? Aren't we all adults?" Fukamizu said.

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