POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2011
Today is the last day for Oahu residents to buy city permits if they want to purchase firecrackers legally in time for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
As of the end of business Wednesday, only 50 permits had been purchased, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig. He expects it to be busy today at satellite city halls, the only place people can buy the permits. The city sold 174 firecracker permits for Independence Day 2010, including 102 on the second-to-last day they could be purchased.
Each $25 permit entitles an adult to buy up to 5,000 common firecrackers. There is no limit on the number of permits a person can purchase.
A city ordinance that took effect Jan. 2 makes it illegal for Oahu residents to set off any other kind of fireworks, including sparklers, fountains and spinning jacks.
Last weekend, the Honolulu fire and police departments began an amnesty program allowing the public to safely dispose of leftover illegal fireworks by turning them into select fire stations, no questions asked.
More than 2,250 pounds of fireworks were collected at the Waianae, Kapolei, Waipahu and Waiau fire stations last weekend, said Caroline Sluyter, Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman.
The Fire Department is accepting small fireworks such as fountains and sparklers and large fireworks such as aerial shells and skyrockets. Unacceptable items include homemade or modified fireworks, improvised explosives, and guns and ammunition.
The amnesty program continues this weekend, July 9-10, and July 16-17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at select fire stations.
Seelig said the department has received reports of sales of illegal fireworks, but those turned out to be poppers and confetti streamers, which do not fall under the ordinance. The department will be doing spot inspections in the days leading up to Fourth of July to ensure merchants are in compliance, he said.
Possessing or setting off illegal fireworks is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.