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Tuesday, December 31, 2002



Fireworks permit
sales soaring

Fire officials say permit sales have
already topped last year's total of 4,400


Star-Bulletin staff

Revelers wanting to ring in the New Year with a bang tonight have caused a last-minute surge in fireworks permit sales, Capt. Richard Soo said.

And fire officials are expecting another rush for the permits today.

By 2:15 p.m. yesterday, the city had sold 4,718 permits, Soo said, compared to 3,145 permits for the same period last year.

A total of 4,400 permits were issued last year for New Year's celebrations.

The increase in permits also has led to a shortage of firecrackers, but there appears to be ample supplies of sparklers and other novelty fireworks, Soo said.

"We are making the public alert (to the fact) that if you get a permit -- and it costs $25 -- the fee is non-refundable. It doesn't matter if you can't find any fireworks to buy, you are not going to get your money back," Soo said.

Dean Takahashi, buyer for Times Supermarket, said sales of fireworks have taken off in the last few days and some stores have run out of certain items.

"It's always a last-minute thing," he said. "It starts to pick up a couple of days before New Year's Eve."

Store managers at Daiei said their Kaheka store ran out of firecrackers yesterday afternoon. However the store still has specialty fireworks that do not require permits.

The shortage of fireworks, however, hasn't discouraged permit seekers.

"I hope I didn't waste $25," Eddie Bush said this morning, right after he paid the money for a permit at the Ala Moana satellite city hall.

The 35-year-old pizza delivery man from Hawaii Kai said he had no idea where he might find fireworks, but he was ready to comb to the city anyway.

"I am on a mission right now," Bush said, adding that setting off New Year's fireworks has been a childhood tradition.

Others standing in line waiting for a permit echoed the same determination.

"The last year, never have (fireworks,) so had some evil spirit," said John Delima, of Hawaii Kai, who bought two permits. He also was prepared to spend today searching for fireworks.

Each $25 permit allows for the purchase of 5,000 firecrackers, but sparklers and other novelty fireworks do not require permits.

There are no limits to the number of permits a person may buy.

Firecrackers may be set off only between 9 p.m. today and 1 a.m. tomorrow. But no firecrackers may be set off within 500 feet of hotels and 1,000 feet of hospitals, convalescent homes, care facilities for the elderly, animal hospitals, and churches when services are being held.

It is illegal for minors to set off firecrackers, except when allowed by parents or guardians and supervised by adults.



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