Oahu Residents Enjoy Quiet New Year's Eve Fireworks

Captain Terry Seelig
Captain Terry Seelig

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's an annual tradition, along with the New Year's countdown and popping of fireworks, the problems that come from illegal or ill-handled pyrotechnics.

Fireworks were heard around the state as Hawaii rang in the New Year, but as 2007 came to an end, even with the celebrations and noise, it was still relatively quiet for fire crews prepared to respond to problems.

They are beautiful but dangerous in the wrong hands, and each year the Honolulu Fire Department gears up for a night of work as people celebrate the New Year with fireworks.

But this year, it was a positive end to 2007, compared to past years.

"It's way down from last year, we were way busier last year," said Captain Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.

One of the reasons the Honolulu Fire Department responded to only about 60 calls over the past three days for fireworks incidents could be the soggy end to the year.

"It was wet the day prior to the eve and that suppressed the potential fire spread from fireworks.

But this New Year's eve on Oahu did have some major fireworks related incidents and injuries.

This abandoned barracks in Barbers Point went up in flames early in the day. Another home in Waikele also burned before midnight.

And because of fireworks, fire crews also were busy responding to medical emergencies.

"We had an increase in medical calls."

Some of the most serious calls for emergency medical services were burn injuries to hands of those handling fireworks.

Along with a man who suffered fireworks burns over 20% of his body and had to be taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Which is why HFD recommends leaving the fireworks to the professionals.

"We encourage people to enjoy the New Year safely and responsibly, enjoy the professional shows, it's one of the most spectacular things you will see, the professional ones are a cut above."

While HFD has an estimate of only about 70 fireworks related fires. That number could change as investigations into activities over the past few days continues.