‘We lost everything’: Popular island snacks business left devastated by warehouse fire

Fire investigators are working to figure out what caused a large blaze at an industrial building in Kakaako.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:42 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 7:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flames tore through a Kakaako warehouse along Queen Street early Wednesday morning, devastating two small businesses.

One of them: Used Surfboards Hawaii. The other is the island-favorite Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks.

From the street, the colorful storefront is nearly all that remains of the Lin family’s small business.

“We’ve lost everything. It’s completely unrecognizable. Nothing is salvageable,” family member Rebecca Lin said.

“It still feels like a dream right now. We’re devastated. Completely devastated,” she added.

In business for about 40 years, they’ve grown a loyal following of customers who flock to them for island snacks like li hing mui, crackseed and more.

Their inventory, which was stored at the Queen Street site, was stacked for the holidays.

But the fire reduced it to charred rubble, leaving the family uncertain of future operations.

“I don’t even know where to begin, where we can recover from this,” Lin said. “It’s heartbreaking. This is very hard ... to get the call, to even be here, to watch it. It’s gonna take a while to get back.”

The collection of boards at Used Surfboards Hawaii were also destroyed.

The two-alarm blaze started around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. HFD responded with some 45 personnel who fought the flames for hours.

“I saw a weird rectangle of flames coming from the roof,” Kakaako resident Stephanie Serrah said. ”We thought it died down, and then oh my God. huge flames. Huge.”

The flames were so intense, the building’s roof collapsed forcing firefighters to battle the blaze from ladders above. It was extinguished hours later around 7 a.m.

In an update Wednesday night, HFD said the fire was deemed accidental.

Investigators said the total damages, for both the property and the contents of both businesses, is over $4.5 million.

The Lin family says they’re grateful no one was injured and have already felt love from the community. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with recovery expenses.

“We will survive this too. We’re very thankful for everybody’s support, everyone’s messages. That’s really everything for us at this point. We are looking up though,” Lin said.

Their shop located along Kamakee Street in the Ward area will remain open for as long as their inventory can sustain it.