Quieter New Year’s Eve sparks hope for a trend
Firefighters report most calls were minor, possibly because of greater effort to be safe
For Oahu firefighters, the end to 2005 and start of the new year was fairly quiet --offering hope to some that the word about fireworks safety is finally starting to get out.
"This year was a good year," said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Kenison Tejada in a news conference at the Honolulu Municipal Building yesterday. "We're crossing our fingers that it's a trend to a safer New Year's. Many people are starting to take heart of what we're trying to teach them."
There were 60 fireworks-related calls on New Year's Eve, only two of which involved structure fires. One of the blazes damaged an abandoned building in Kahuku. The second was in the garage of a Kalihi home and was out before firefighters arrived.
The number of fireworks-related calls is higher than the totals in 2004 and 2003. The difference, Tejada said, is that most of the calls this New Year's Eve were minor.
On Dec. 31, 2004, there were 15 fireworks-related calls, including one building and two brush fires.
Also, shortly after midnight on New Year's Day, then-11-year-old Cydnee Somera was injured after a bucket of fireworks was lit in the street outside her Aiea home, sending debris into her hand and breaking three wrist bones.
In 2003, there were two brush fires and 14 rubbish fires. The tally in 2002 tops Saturday night's, with 63 fireworks-related fires.
What also may have helped this year, Tejada said, was a light rain that started to fall about 2 a.m. yesterday in many parts of Oahu. The breeze also picked up about midnight, blowing smoke out of many neighborhoods quicker than anticipated.
On Friday, there were 15 fireworks-related calls. There were eight yesterday, as of 11 a.m.
Tejada said that there also didn't appear to be many illegal aerial fireworks set off on New Year's Eve.