POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 16, 2011
Honolulu Fire Chief Kenneth Silva urged Oahu residents on Wednesday to take advantage of an amnesty program that allows the surrender of illegal fireworks over the next few weeks without fear of fines or jail time.
Under a new law that took effect Jan. 2, only common firecrackers are allowed for those who obtain a permit from the city for this Fourth of July.
All other fireworks, including sparklers and fountains, are no longer legal. The law says anyone caught selling, possessing or using such fireworks could be subject to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
The Fire Department's amnesty program is supported by the Honolulu Police Department, which will dispose of any fireworks turned in. On Wednesday, Silva and other fire officials showed off several of the steel-enforced bins that are being loaned from HPD's Specialized Services Division for collection.
The first series of collections will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at four West Oahu stations: Kapolei, Waianae, Waiau and Waipahu. The amnesty program bins will be out at four Windward fire stations the following weekend.
Five people were killed April 8 in an underground storage facility in Waikele when the aerial fireworks they were handling set off an explosion.
After that incident, Silva said, "people realized how dangerous fireworks can be, especially if they're stored in their residences."
When transporting fireworks in private vehicles, he said, they should be placed in the trunk.
Silva also reminded the public that adults will have only until next Thursday to purchase $25 permits for every 5,000 firecrackers they want to buy from vendors.
Under the new law, permits must be obtained no later than 10 days before the holiday. Those permits can be purchased at satellite city halls. There is no limit.