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Consumer fireworks sellers in South Florida deal with short supply

HIALEAH, Fla. – There has been a higher demand for consumer fireworks in South Florida ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, but there is also a short supply.

Sellers expected a higher demand since cities have canceled the traditional public pyrotechnic shows to avoid crowds during the pandemic.

Patricia Taime owns the Fireworks Lady & Co., which operates seasonal firework sales tent locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“We did extremely, extremely well,” Taime said about her sales as a consumer fireworks supplier.

Taime said container shipping disruptions affected the supply chain for fireworks, which are mostly made in China. The pandemic also affected manufacturing when Chinese factories closed. This is all to blame for the nationwide shortage of consumer fireworks, she said.

Raul Caminero, who also profits from consumer fireworks sales, said there have been many complications during the pandemic. He used to be able to set up a tent at Marlins Park, but now the area turned into a state-supported coronavirus testing site.

It took him months to get the city permits needed to relocate the large tent to the Westland Mall area in Hialeah. Under his tent, there was a variety of firecrackers, sparklers, cone-shaped fountains, and rockets — and there was a popular children’s section.

Customers are spending. Chuck Wood said he bought more than $1,000 in fireworks for a New Year’s Eve display in Perrine. He said several people contributed to the cost of welcoming 2021 with joy.

“At least for a little while it will seem like the way it used to be,” Wood said.

The TNT Fireworks Supercenter in Dania Beach was full of customers on Tuesday. Jose Martinez was there with his three grandsons. He and Matias Zuniga said it’s a July and December annual tradition for their families.

“We have been doing this for tons of years and we don’t want it to stop,” Zuniga said.

Safety tips

  • The National Safety Council: The hand sanitizer that is helping to keep people safe during the pandemic is highly flammable, so avoid its use near fireworks.
  • The National Fire Protection Association: Sparklers account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries and can quickly ignite clothing. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warned sparklers are dangerous for children under 5 years old.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission: Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • The American Pyrotechnics Association: Select a safe location that is free of debris and has a flat level surface. Additionally, make certain to read and follow all instructions for use and keep spectators at a safe distance.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.