Strange odor in Ala Moana food court forces evacuation of employees and customers

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Ala Moana Makai Market Food Court has been safely reopened after reports of an odor resulted in an evacuation of the food court.

“The health and welfare of our customers is of the utmost importance and one that Ala Moana Center takes very seriously,” said Ala Moana Senior General Manager Francis Cofran.

The Ala Moana Shopping Center has People were evacuated from the Makai Market Food Court in Ala Moana Shopping Center Tuesday evening.

Fire officials tell KHON2 they responded to an alarm for a possible presence of a chemical odor.

EMS, police and firefighters were at the scene.

HFD was not able to locate the source of the chemical odor.

Fire officials believe whatever the cause was dissipated quickly.

According to the shopping center, they have fully cooperated with the Honolulu Fire department and the HFD hazmat response team on their investigation.

Following their investigation, it was determined that it was safe to reopen.

At around 4:30 p.m., fire officials reported people were coughing and choking as they ran out of the food court.

Officials say the Ala Moana security guards assisted in clearing everyone out.

“I work at Curry House,” said Chelsea Hayashi. “Because we’re in the back, we didn’t smell anything. We just seen a bunch of people running out and coughing. So I went into the middle of the food court, and that’s when it really hit. It almost feels like you’re choking. You don’t smell anything. It’s just like, almost like you’re inhaling pepper spray. I tripped off one of the staircases because I was coughing really hard. As time went on it spread toward our place. So as soon as you step out our kitchen you start just gagging.”

KHON2 is told there were about a hundred people in the food court before the incident happened.

A 69-year-old man was treated at the scene for chest pain and taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Fire officials say exposed food was thrown out and the food court was reopened at about 6 p.m.

The source or nature of the odor was undetermined.

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