On Friday, Nov. 25, a Waikiki tradition was canceled at the last minute.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village told us its weekly show was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances beyond the property’s control.”
The hotel would not go into details, but we’ve learned the Honolulu Police Department is investigating a fireworks theft case. Sources tell us the case was opened Friday afternoon.
A police spokeswoman then told us a large amount of stolen professional-grade fireworks were found at an Ewa Beach home Saturday night. No arrests have been made.
We spoke with company that handles Hilton’s fireworks show. It didn’t want to talk about the theft, and didn’t want us to show where or how it stores its fireworks.
So we spoke with another professional fireworks company. Thomas Likos with Fireworks by Grucci says there are strict rules for storing fireworks explosives.
“The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) has something they call the Orange Book, which lays out specifically how you have to have a magazine, a storage facility for fireworks, reinforced and separated from inhabited housing and public roads and that type of thing,” he explained.
Likos says federal inspectors and Honolulu Fire Department inspectors check up at least once a year, and inventory of what’s used in shows and what’s stored must be recorded.
“What are the measures put in place by ATF and HFD when securing the magazines so that the explosives and fireworks in the magazine don’t get into the wrong hands?” KHON2 asked.
“The regulations specify what type of locks and what type of security that you have to have,” Likos said. “A five-tumbler lock is about the most difficult lock to pick, so it’s the five-tumbler lock that is required, and also you have to visit the magazine and check it for security every seven days by law.”
Likos says he sees a peak near the end of the year of burglars trying to get commercial-grade fireworks for New Year’s Eve.
“At our old location, we had attempted burglaries. People were actually able to get in,” he said. “At our new location we’ve been at for five or six years now, there’s been an attempt, but they just found it too difficult to get through our security to get into it.”
Strict regulations need to be followed at least once a week.
“I think the regulations are what they have to be,” said Likos. “We do need these regulations. We do need these storage facilities to be well controlled. These fireworks are dangerous in the hands of the public.”
Police warn that professional-grade fireworks can cause serious injuries and should only be handled by trained pyrotechnicians.
Hilton Hawaii Village says it plans on having fireworks this Friday, and it will be the same company operating the show.