Misfired fireworks leads to injury

City officials: Fewer New Year's fireworks calls, serious injuries

Published  5:34 PM HST Jan 01, 2013
HONOLULU -

It was a night Kalihi resident Daniel Lewis will remember for a long time.

It was a New Year's celebration that went awry.

"I don’t know what to say. I am just thankful my kids didn't get hit that’s all," said Lewis.

Lewis was 50 to 75 feet away from the blast that his uncle’s neighbor was setting off.

He was filming the amateur pyrotechnics show when the aerial fireworks misfired and Lewis said he felt something hit his leg and now he is nursing a nasty bruise.

"It started out just minor and all of a sudden it got bigger and bigger and darker and a little pain here, but I think I will be OK," he said.

Lewis's wife and children were much closer to the blast and the video he shot captured the scene moments after she felt something graze her shoulder.

"My aunties and uncles thought I was just joking when I told them I got hit," said Angel Lewis. 

"I am still shaken up and that I was holding my daughter.  The mere fact that I was holding her. We didn't even buy fireworks. We were just watching them and we were hurt," Lewis said.

Firecracker paper littered the narrow lane where the fireworks show took place.

Area residents said the owner of the Self Lane home was hospitalized for a wound in his abdomen, a neighbor suffered serious wound to his leg, and another party guest was hurt in his chest.

Lewis was debating whether to seek further treatment for his wound. He was definitely rethinking whether the traditional New Year’s fire show is worth the risk.

City emergency officials said  they responded to 186 calls over the New Year’s eve holiday.

The number of calls is down from previous years, and there were no fatalities or critical cases.

But officials believe  there are a number of fireworks related injuries that go unreported.

"The point is there were people who were just standing there minding their own business and they were injured by someone else's carelessness," said EMS administrator Patty Duke.

The Honolulu Fire Department said there were fewer fireworks related calls this year compared to previous years.

This was the first year that a ban on aerial lanterns or aerial luminaries went into effect.

"It’s not an acceptable risk to have. As wonderful as it might look it really exposes the community to potential harm so it is no longer legal," said Capt. Terry Seelig.

The ban on personal fireworks was passed two years ago.

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