Weeks before New Year’s Eve, illegal aerial fireworks light up the sky over Oahu

Weeks before New Year’s Eve, illegal aerial fireworks light up the sky over Oahu

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Several illegal aerial fireworks have been going off over Oahu in the past few weeks, with several blasts reported on Thanksgiving night.

“Last night there was a bunch of aerials. Very loud. And they’re just coming from all over the valley,” said longtime Palolo resident Lena Haapala.

Haapala expects to hear explosions closer to New Year’s, not in mid-November.

“It started maybe a couple of weeks ago. There’ll be random fireworks going off,” she said. “It’s super loud. It startles the whole neighborhood."

The loud booms are especially hard on animals. One viewer sent a photo of his dog wearing earmuffs to fend off the noise.

“Their hearing, their senses, are heightened,” said Michele Morlet of the Feather and Fur Animal Hospital in Kailua. “They hear things at a different level than we do.”

The animal hospital is staffed around the clock. One of the things the staff does there is look for microchips on stray dogs to reunite them with their owners.

“Last night we had several strays that came in,” said Morlet. “They get out, they get afraid of the fireworks, and they get out of their homes.”

On Oahu, nearly all fireworks have been banned since 2011. Only firecrackers with a permit are allowed, and only during certain hours on New Year’s Eve and Independence Day. But it’s obvious many are ignoring the law.

“It was fun, but now it’s year-round. It’s just random,” said Haapala. “And it’s just surprising when it’s not on that special day that we’re celebrating.”

Police do occasionally make arrests, but only occasional, because officers have to see the violator actually light the fuse. The law now allows cell phone video be used as evidence in court, but only if the person who took the video is willing to testify.

On Oahu, the law allows residents to pop firecrackers with permits between 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 1 a.m. New Year’s Day.

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