2-alarm blaze at Kalihi OnoPops facility to disrupt production

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - OnoPops, a popular local popsicle company, will be off the shelves for a few months after a fire inside their Kalihi production facility Tuesday night.

It happened around 10:15 p.m. in the Waiakamilo Business Center, the same building that houses Hawaii News Now.

"It was terrible to wake up in the middle of the night to know something that catastrophic was happening and to feel so helpless," OnoPops owner Josh Lanthier-Welch said.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Flames destroyed all equipment in the facility room and means the company will lose about $100,000 in revenue.

But Lanthier-Welch says it could have been worse.

"Luckily my inventory -- my freezer, my walk-in freezer, my chest freezer where the bulk of the inventory is stored -- all survived. So we have enough inventory to last us maybe two to three weeks," he said.

Also, sales for popsicles slow during the winter.

If something similar had happened in the summer, revenue losses would have been double what they were.

OnoPops is insured, so Lanthier-Welch says the company should be able to overcome the fire.

Still, for a local company, the damage is far more than just financial.

"We're not just in it to make money, we're in it to make Hawaii a better place. We really want to make Hawaiian agriculture first and foremost goal in people's minds," he said. "You have to save the agriculture lands, save the aina and support the farmers ... and that's what I got in this business to do."

Lanthier-Welch is in the process of setting up a GoFundMe account to help bridge the gap between now and when he can re-start production.

For more information, visit the company's website.

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