New Year’s Eve aerial fireworks around the island left some people upset that they went on too long and police seemed to do nothing about it.
Kauai police had 45 fireworks-related calls to dispatch on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, by about 4 p.m., KPD had eight dispatch calls.
On Kauai, only licensed pyro-technicians with proper permits are authorized to ignite aerial fireworks. Yet fireworks filled the skies around the island on New Year’s Eve and beyond.
One resident wrote a letter to his Kalaheo neighbor, which he shared with The Garden Island.
“I know you want to have some fun celebrating the New Year. I realize that setting off fireworks somehow offers some entertainment value for you and your extended family. I get that you look forward to lighting these sparkly noise makers,” he wrote.
“What I don’t understand is why you have to start the party three days prior to December 31st. Aren’t you sick of lighting these bombs of by the time the real evening arrives? I know the whole entire neighborhood that surrounds your property sure is tired of your antics! I realize that you don’t care about your donkey, your sheep, your dogs, or your other animals on your property, but don’t you have any empathy for the people who circle your large lot? I guess not.
“Some people love the repetition of loud bangs over and over, some people enjoy quiet walks, some people like loud music, and others read a good book for joy. Whatever floats your boat. But, for the love of God, please have some respect of those living around you. I can handle it for one night, but 3 days of illegal explosions does not rock my world. Singing “we are the champions” in the middle of the night once a year I can deal with, but please stop the triple night detonations.
Another resident wrote “Is the police (department), or whoever is in charge of these things, going to arrest the people setting off illegal bombs in the vicinity of Anae and Weke Road and Hanalei this year? Last July we had many rattle our homes and scare our pets.
“So, when the illegal ‘barrel bombs’ and ‘blockbusters’ started exploding New Years Eve, I called the police dispatch # you gave me and gave them a specific location Anae St. and Weke Rd. in Hanalei and the nice lady told me there was nothing they could do. I was supposed to go and do their job in identifying the specific individuals. Guess they don’t ever leave their patrol cars in case there is a bank robbery or something. So Hanalei sounded like a War Zone all night. Great for PTSD Vets and animals. There were even some idiots exploding bombs at 3 AM, same location. Ironic one of my friends tried to buy legal fireworks in Princeville and was told they needed a permit.
“Does the County of Kauai or their Police Dept. even care? Or is this all some sort of Big Joke?”
Kauai police PIO Coco Zickos said they did receive complaints about fireworkds from around the island, primarily on New Year’s Eve.
“KPD tries to respond to all calls that are received by dispatch. Unfortunately, we have limited resources, but KPD officers attempt to respond to as many calls as possible,” she wrote in response to questions from TGI.
The number of fireworks-related calls to dispatch have been steadily increasing over the years:
• 2016: 22 calls;
• 2017: 43 calls;
• 2018: 54 calls;
• 2019: 72 calls, according to a preliminary report.
The county issued a press release on Dec. 20 reminding people that a permit must be obtained from the fire department by Dec. 31 to purchase and ignite certain firecrackers on New Year’s Eve.
It also reminded people that it is illegal to set off fireworks on public property, including streets, sidewalks or parks, and that all aerial luminaries, also known as flying lanterns or flying luminaries, are prohibited in Hawaii.
That, however, did not deter many people from igniting a midnight fireworks show.
Zickos said police are compiling New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day statistics to determine if any of the officers in their respective districts issued citations.
“The issue with citations for fireworks-related calls is challenging because in most of the cases, by the time the officers arrive on scene, they’re not observing the violations,” she wrote. “Moreover, most of the calls to dispatch are anonymous complaints.”
She said there is only so much police officers can do when it comes to illegal fireworks.
“The responsibility lies upon the community who are required to follow the current laws,” she wrote. “That said, new legislation could potentially be introduced to further restrict the sale of fireworks/firecrackers.
Howard Tolbe of Eleele said every New Year’s Eve he does not light any fireworks, “Yet, every year in my yard I find debris of aerial fireworks.”
He wrote, in a letter to TGI, that aerial fireworks should be banned, “due to the fact of all the years past up to the present all of the evidence of dangers aerial fireworks caused.”
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.