Fireworks ban: some experience quieter New Year's Eve, others deal with explosions

Published: Jan. 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2012 at 3:41 AM HST
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Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig
Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig
Christine Losinger
Christine Losinger
Nyna Weiser
Nyna Weiser
Rick Romer
Rick Romer

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Is Oahu's fireworks ban working? Honolulu fire officials say there were no severe fires started by fireworks New Year's Eve and dispatch calls were down slightly from last year, but they still saw a significant number of illegal aerials.

How quiet it was Saturday night depended on where you were. Some communities were surprised by the ban's impact, saying there was a significant decrease in the New Year's Eve noise level. However, residents in other neighborhoods say the blatant use of illegal fireworks was as bad as ever.

Several pooches enjoyed a New Year's Day romp at the Mililani Dog Park following a stressful night filled with constant crackling and heart-pounding explosions.

"Smudge wouldn't stop panting," Gavin Losinger, Waipio resident, said. "He would go under blankets. He'd run around. I felt his leg shaking so much and it wouldn't stop."

Some residents of Mililani, Waipio, Waipahu and Ewa Beach jokingly wondered if their communities were exempt from the fireworks ban, considering the colorful, yet illegal, displays in those neighborhoods.

"The big ones, the small ones, the sparklers, I mean, everything," Christine Losinger, Waipio resident, said. "To have so much going off when there's not supposed to be anything is kind of shocking. People just have no regard for laws."

But not every community had the war-zone feel. Residents in Aiea, Foster Village, Kalihi Valley and Ahuimanu reported a noticeable decrease in the noise and smoke levels this year.

"It was definitely a difference locally," Nyna Weiser, Foster Village resident, said. "As you're walking down the street, it didn't seem like Beirut."

Unlike poor Smudge, Foxy was a bundle of energy at the Moanalua Dog Park after a restful night.

"It was the quietest New Year's Eve in 33 years is all I can say," Rick Romer, Kalihi Valley resident, said. "It was pretty concentrated what noise there was, but nothing like what we used to have in the past."

The Honolulu Fire Department says there were 22 fireworks-related fires on Oahu during a 24-hour period New Year's Eve into New Year's Day, down from 36 such fires last year.

"Nobody wants someone to get injured or have a heart attack or kids playing with them, so it's good," Romer said about the decrease. "I'm glad to hear that."

But fire officials were disappointed.

"We didn't see a significant decline in fireworks-related fires or call volume, and that's a little troublesome," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said.

Some people believe fireworks enthusiasts hoarded the items that later became illegal, so the usage is bound to drop as the years go by and the supplies dwindle.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.