Fireworks Fire on Hawaii Kai Hillside Nearly Destroys Winners Camp and Area Homes

Photo by Carroll Cox
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Photo by Carroll Cox

BY DELORESE GREGOIRE This is an open letter to whomever set off the ariel fireworks in Kalama Valley – did you know that whole families with little children were frightened that they would lose their homes, terrorized by the flames covering the mountain right outside their front doors?

Parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles risked life and limb to climb to the tops of their homes to water down their roof tiles and even their neighbors roofs, who had been barred from returning to their own hale.


Our camp for teens, Winners Camp and Hawaii Leadership Academy, was put in grave danger of being totally destroyed. The fire stopped a mere 20 feet from a shed that housed all our lawn equipment filled with tools that use gasoline… the explosion would have set off a chain reaction. Hundreds of ohana have worked diligently for years volunteering their time and talents to provide this setting to give local teens tools for a productive sustainable life… potentially ruined by you.

What were you thinking setting off illegal ariel fireworks?… Yes, it’s fun and at what cost?… and even if it doesn’t matter to you right now because you are justifying the deed, one day you will put your head on the pillow and admonish yourself.

Think about all those firefighters who worked for two days after a long scary night of fighting back the harrowing flames. They came down the mountain faces covered with soot, eyes red, throats parched, voices hoarse, hair on their arms and face singed, their yellow fire suits turned black and clinging to their tired bodies. These men and women risked their lives to save the homes of the people they took an oath and swore to protect.

Photo by Carroll Cox

What were you doing? Were you gloating with pride and patting yourselves on the back for the havoc you created? Just so you know your dastardly deed was countered by hundreds of good people who live their lives pono.

Remember, we get what we give, give yourselves a chance to make things right and never do this again and be a warrior for teaching others to never set off ariels again, ever.

Delorese Gregoire is the founder of Winners’ Camp Foundation and Hawaii Leadership Academy