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Saturday, November 22, 2014         

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Fireworks-related blazes, calls plummet over holiday weekend

By Lynn Nakagawa

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Honolulu firefighters and police responded to fewer than one-fourth of the number of fireworks-related calls during the Fourth of July weekend than they did a year ago, in the first major holiday under Oahu's ban on virtually all consumer fireworks.

The number of fires probably related to fireworks dropped to four from 27, the Honolulu Fire Department reported.

"We saw a general decline in fireworks calls as well as fire calls (18 overall, down from 74)," Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig said. He said recent damp weather was also a factor in minimizing fires.

The Honolulu Police Department received 94 calls of fireworks violations over the weekend, down 76 percent from last year when the department received 387 such calls.

One citation was issued for illegal use of fireworks in a public park, but no arrests were made.

"There were a lot less illegal fireworks that were being shot off. The numbers are greatly reduced from last year and years past," Seelig said.

Barbara Troegner, a Foster Village resident and treasurer for the Aliamanu-Foster Village Neighborhood Board, said her neighborhood was quiet compared with the celebration last year.

"It was very quiet, almost too quiet," Troegner said.

Troegner said residents in her area have been responsible and respectful with their fireworks in the past and were prompt about cleaning up the morning after.

Seelig said it's a safety issue. "Fireworks on a nationwide as well as local trend cause injury or property damage to some degree," Seelig said. Even seemingly harmless fireworks such as sparklers burn at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and are often combined to create improvised fireworks, posing an increased hazard, he said.






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