Neighbor island police warn of citations, arrests for those setting off illegal fireworks

So far this month, MPD has received nearly 300 calls regarding illegal fireworks.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:19 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Neighbor island police dispatchers are getting inundated with phone calls regarding illegal fireworks.

Maui Police Department said it has already responded to nearly 300 complaints to 911 just this month.

“That’s just called for services, there’s many more that haven’t been called,” said Sgt. James Terry with MPD’s fireworks detail.

As people prepare to ring in the New Year, Terry and his team are out patrolling neighborhoods looking for anyone setting off one of illegal fireworks.

“You may not have been caught, you may not have been injured, but it’s not if... it’s when it happens,” Terry said.

Terry said last year, a child blew off his fingers lighting aerial fireworks.

In 2020, MPD confiscated 177 pounds of illegal fireworks and in a separate situation, a Kauai man died following a fireworks explosion.

And in 2019, a man was injured when an illegal aerial shot threw his car window while he was driving home in Kahului.

Terry said it’s not worth it.

“Aerials are illegal. A lot of areas where they’re igniting, the aerials are in a populated area, can cause fires,” he said. “We have some elders that have health problems, breathing problems, asthma … then, of course, there’s our non-human family, pets that are frightened, and they run off.”

Terry said a person’s enjoyment, can be a detriment to somebody else.

A viewer from Kauai sent Hawaii News Now video of illegal fireworks going off outside her home last New Year. She said it was seven straight hours of explosions near her home — in the videos, her pet panting and shaking.

On Hawaii Island, the Humane Society is seeing an influx of lost pets coming into their shelter.

“We are still seeing the effects here of fireworks out in our community even before the New Years,” said Hawaii County Animal Control Director Regina DoDaro Romero Serrano.

“Sales have increased this year. So, we are anticipating a lot of noise and a lot of frightened animals coming into our shelters.”

Serrano said the first thing they do when coming across a lost animal is scan them for a microchip. Their goal is to get them back to their owner, but that is not always possible.

“Animals are running in the roadways,” Serrano said. “They’re fleeing the noise. And if you are on the roads, this does present a safety risk for not just the animals, but also people that may be driving.”

Their legal hold time for animals is 48 hours. But Serrano said they often go beyond that in hopes to reunite the pets with their owners.

She said lost or found animals must be reported to Animal Control at (808) 327-3558 or and a report filed by the finder/owner at

After hours and daytime animal emergencies should be phoned into police dispatch at (808) 935-3311 for immediate assistance.

The community can update their pet’s existing microchip information at

For more information on firework rules, click here.

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