The State Department of Health is considering issuing a permit to a company that typically handles fireworks displays in Waikiki to allow them to set off aerials on a residential lot in Nanakuli -- not as a celebration, but to get rid of them. The state has 45 days to make a decision -- and officials are encouraging people who live in the area to weigh in.
The fireworks were confiscated during an illegal shipment to Honolulu and were originally stored in a Waikele storage bunker. A fatal explosion in 2011 destroyed a portion of the seizure, but now the U.S. Department of Treasury has contracted Fireworks by Grucci to ignite and dispose of the rest.
The Department of Health and Honolulu Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau are responsible for issuing the necessary permits.
"We're not used to doing stuff like this, normally the type of unexploded ordinances we deal with are normally with the military -- very large devices in a very secure area. This is the first time that someone has come to us with this kind of proposal and in an area that's really within a small community so we welcome the interest and the comments from the public," said Steve Chang, the Department of Health Solid & Hazardous Waste Branch Chief.
Some neighbors have raised concerns the proposed site, which is located on the 88-hundred block of Pa'akea Road, poses a risk to others because of its proximity to area homes and businesses.
Officials say they can't use the fireworks in a future professional-display because they may not be safe or reliable, which is another issue neighbors want addressed.
"They claim it's unstable so is it stable enough to be housed at that property and incrementally be discharged? You know, those are the types of questions we have. And right next to this guy's property is also the biggest chicken farm in Hawai'i and they provide eggs for Ka Lei eggs, so we're even trying to find out if they're even aware of this," said Sophie Manasala, a Pa'akea Rd. resident.
Others were surprised, but don't find the proposal worrisome.
"I don't think so, cause it's a big area in the back there. It's not going to be a problem," said Satui Taala, who lives in one of the several homes adjacent to the property.
According to HFD, officials have issued three similar New Years Eve permits for the same location in the past. They say if the permit is approved by DOH, HFD will still conduct an on-site inspection of the display setup prior to firing and it may be revoked, denied or suspended if it is not in compliance.
The proposal will be discussed at a regularly scheduled Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board meeting at which point the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. The meeting is Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Nanaikapono Elementary School Cafeteria. 89-153 Mano Avenue, Waianae, HI 96792 from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Hawaii News Now reached out to both the property owner and Grucci Inc. for comment, but has not heard back from either party.