Fires keepHonolulu firefighters spent their Fourth of July fighting several brush fires in the Central and Leeward parts of Oahu.
the 4th busy
HFD fought several brushMisfire delays show
fires, but they considered it
a tame Independence Day
By Rod Antone
One of the brush fires was located in a gulch in Waipio Acres and is suspected to be fireworks-related. Mililani firefighters on the scene said flames burned five acres and got within 100 yards of homes.
"Witnesses living on Hiikua Street said they had seen aerials being shot into the valley from a neighborhood toward the east," said Mililani fire Capt. Mike Jewett. "They said they saw the aerials land and then noticed smoke a short time later."
Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo said the Hiikua Street fire was reported at 6:17 p.m. and was under control in 45 minutes.
Between noon and midnight yesterday, firefighters responded to 40 brush and rubbish fires on Oahu.
"We don't have time to investigate all of them but we highly suspect that most of them were fireworks related," Soo said.
Firefighters also responded to 11 calls of people having difficulty breathing. Altogether, firefighters responded to about 100 incidents in the 12-hour period ending at midnight. "Usually the fire department responds to a hundred in a 24-hour period. So it was double," Soo said.
Two brush fires, one in Royal Kunia and another near Makakilo, started within 10 minutes of each other. Both are suspected to have been fireworks-related. The Royal Kunia fire started at 12:16 p.m. near 94-1111 Kapehu St., and the Makakilo fire started at 12:36 p.m. near 91-920 Farrington Hwy.
"The Kapehu Street fire burned four acres and took five companies to get it under control," Soo said. "The other fire was located along old Farrington Highway and took two hours to bring under control because the fires were in five different areas along the road."
Fire officials said other fireworks-related incidents were minor.
They included fireworks being thrown into a Waipahu mailbox and Kaneohe children lighting bottle rockets suspected of starting a fire in someone's back yard on Mahalani Street.
Even with all the calls, Soo said this holiday season was tame compared to others.
"It could be worse. Could be New Year's," said Soo. "Overall it seems to be a calm July 4, though we won't know until later if last July 4 was better or worse. But we've had no major fires and no structure fires, so it seems like people are taking our advice and leaving it (fireworks) up to the professionals."
An interruption in the big Ala Moana fireworks show caused by a misfire gave those who stuck around a chance to see three fireworks displays last night.
An 8-inch shell misfired and exploded on the ground last night about eight and a half minutes into the program, said Sherry Souza of Pyro Spectaculars, the company that put together the show.
The fireworks were wired in three separate areas and the misfire occurred in the center position, Souza said.
The show resumed about seven minutes later with workers setting off the two outside positions. The middle display was then rewired and set off after another delay.
Pyro Spectaculars decided not to set off three 10-inch shells which were being removed this morning while workers cleaned up Magic Island. The area was closed to the public but was expected to reopen this afternoon.
No injuries were reported and the public was not in danger, she said.