On Friday at approximately 2:15 p.m., a fire broke out at a high-rise condominium building in Honolulu. Fire crews were brought in to battle the flames and fought for hours before it was declared to be under control. It has been reported that three people were confirmed dead, four people were taken to a local hospital in serious condition, and a dozen more were injured and treated at the scene.
According to Honolulu Fire Captain David Jenkins, the fire started on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo building. The building was completed in 1971, had 36 stories total, and housed 568 residential units; what it didn’t have were sprinklers. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell stated that at the time of the building’s completion, sprinklers weren't required by building codes. "Without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin," said Honolulu Fire Department Fire Chief Manuel P. Neves.
It was not an easy fight for firefighters. In fact, according to Neves, the firefighters had to be evacuated about two or three different times while fighting the blaze. There were approximately 100 firefighters on the scene who were not only having to fight the original fire, but also secondary fires caused by falling debris. The fire ended up spreading to the 27th and 28th floors and was stopped on the 29th.
As of right now, the exact origin and cause of the fire is unknown.
Caldwell has stated a nearby community park is available for evacuees. The American Red Cross is also currently working to help those individuals and families who were displaced by the fire. "Our hearts go out to the families of the folks that lost their lives, and the folks that lost their possessions in their apartments," said Neves.