Firecracker demand outpacing supply, most places sold out

Firecracker demand outpacing supply, most places sold out

Firecrackers are much harder to get your hands on this year than ever before, as demand has outpaced supply.  The deadline to get a permit expired nearly two weeks ago, but many with the proper paperwork are facing the possibility they paid for something they won't be able to use as more and more locations quickly sell out of their inventory.

According to the fireworks inspector with the Honolulu Fire Department, the fireworks stand outside of Farrington High School was the only one on the island that still had fireworks as of Monday afternoon.

Kau'i Keola's family was one of the lucky few able to get firecrackers.

"We're actually extremely happy!  It's part of our tradition.  Even with all of the permit situation, it's just what we grew up with and what we enjoy doing and it's how we celebrate our New Year's," explained Keola.

"We've been to all the Long's Drugs and Don Quixote's, several times.  They get their shipment on the shelf and it's gone so quick – in hours," Keola described.

When Ernie Kaahanui showed up the stand wasn't open yet and there was no indication there was still inventory.

"I went purchase the permit but we cannot find any fireworks," said Kaahanui, listing all the places and family members had already gone to.

"Unless we find something else within the next couple hours or tomorrow then we're just going to be burning these papers," said Jessica Day holding up the two $25 permits they purchased.

Officials confirm the firecracker permits are non-refundable.  They say just under 11,000 were issued by the city, which is 2,000 more than last year.

Fire officials say they regulate the permitting, but not how much supply vendors sell.

"It's regrettable and we're very disappointed that this situation exists, but it's not one that we control – how many firecrackers are brought in," explained Captain Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.

Officials say vendors would have a clearer idea of how much inventory to stock if more people applied for their permits, which are good for one year, in advance.  Fire officials clarified, permits can only be used for the date they're issued – meaning anyone who isn't able to find fireworks before midnight on New Year's Eve, won't be able to use the same paperwork for the Chinese New Year or the Fourth of July.

Zack Lee says he waited in line 45 minutes to get his 10 permits as part of his family's annual celebration.

"I've never heard of this.  I think this is the first year that they had a shortage and I'm glad I got mine," who says he would be so disappointed if he didn't get any and says he's fortunate to have bought his firecrackers the first day.

A few places, like Kmart, still have novelty fireworks.

"Stack 'em high and watch' em fly," explained Darcy Taisacan, a manager – adding that even those aren't expected to last long.  "By tomorrow afternoon this will be gone."

Fire officials are reminding everyone who is able to purchase firecrackers to be careful—adding that the safest way to enjoy them is by leaving it to the professionals

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