HONOLULU (KHON2) — Firework mishaps sent over a dozen people to the hospital at the start of 2022 and damaged property.
Across Oahu, fireworks lit up the sky. There was a legal show in Waikiki, but illegal aerials could be seen everywhere from Kailua to Hawaii Kai, all the way to the west side of the island.
It was a few minutes after midnight, and New Year’s Eve festivities were in full swing. One Ewa Beach resident, who asked only to be called Charlie, said she was watching the fireworks with her husband and son when all of a sudden there was a big explosion.
She was standing at the front door of her house and she said she saw the glass window above the door had shattered.
“Good thing it never hit my head, it just fell off behind me,” she said.
After the dust settled, they went out to survey the damage. They saw that her car and her husband’s truck were badly damaged.
Multiple car windows were shattered, her car had flat tires and there were numerous puncture holes — clean through the metal — along the side of both cars. Her car sustained so much damage she said it is no longer able to be driven.
The force of the explosion was so powerful it left a round indention in the road, and the shell holding the aerial firework landed on a neighbor’s garage three houses down the street in a mangled, black mess.
Several other witnesses said it looked like a war zone on their street and that at least three people were taken away in an ambulance.
The wet weather and pleas by the Honolulu Fire Department for residents to refrain from using illegal fireworks seemed to, once again, fall on deaf ears. Aerials could be seen lighting up the night sky in almost every neighborhood across Oahu.
Emergency services reported a total of 13 firework-related injuries on New Year’s Eve, which was more than double than the previous year, 2021 — there were six firework-related injuries. Honolulu EMS said nearly all of the injuries were serious or critical. Hospital emergency rooms helped additional patients with less severe firework and burn-related injuries not included in the injury count.
EMS also reported 14 car accidents, 26 assaults and three stabbings, compared to 17 car accidents and 12 assaults in 2021.
Additionally, HFD reported a slight dip in firework-related incidents, likely due to the wet weather.
They responded to two structure fires and three rubbish fires. They added that they also saw an uptick in firework-related injuries, responding to six in 2022 compared to three in 2021.