HONOLULU (KHON2) — Monday, Oct. 9 kicks off Fire Prevention Week; and Mayor Rick Blangiardi is in the thick of it.
At the request of Mayor Blangiardi, the Honolulu Hale has been lit in red beginning at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 8. It will continue to be lit in red through sunrise on Saturday, Oct. 14.
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“The devastating impact of fire is top of mind for all of us right now,” said Mayor Blangiardi. “Our hearts go out to our friends and families on Maui who have lost so much. Whether it is a wildland fire or cooking fire, flames have the potential to do so much damage very quickly.”
Each year, the City and County of Honolulu observes Fire Prevention Week along with the rest of the United States.
“It is up to all of us to create a safer community through prevention, preparedness, and effective emergency response,” added Mayor Blangiardi. “Mahalo to the brave and dedicated men and women of the Honolulu Fire Department for their role in highlighting fire safety during our annual Fire Prevention Week. A big and well-deserved MAHALO from all of us for your remarkable service and commitment to excellence throughout the entire year.”
In light of the devastating fires that hit Maui in August, KHON2.com thought it would be a good idea to provide a bit of history as to why there is a national overservice dedicated fire prevention.
The week commemorates the tragedy of the Great Chicago Fire which happened on Oct. 8, 1871. In this blaze, there were more than 250 killed by the fire, which left 100,000 people houseless.
The fire destroyed more than 17,400 structures, including businesses and homes.
Over the years, there have been many theories as to how the fire began. For many years, it was believed that a thief started the fire when that person knocked over a lantern while attempting to steal milk from the farm owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary.
However, as time has passed, there is another story that has gained traction along with another possible theory.
In the years following the fire, there was a man named Louis M. Cohn who came forward to confess to starting the fire. He said it was by accident. He claimed that he knocked over a lantern when running away from an illegal card game.
Another theory that has been proposed by scientists indicates that it is possible a meteor shower may have ignited the hay in the O’Leary barn.
The campaign focus for 2023 is “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention”.
The intention is to educate everyone about how simple but important the actions they take can keep themselves and their ‘ohana safe when cooking.
“As always, the men and women of the Honolulu Fire Department remain committed to protecting the public and our communities near and far,” said Honolulu Fire Department Chief Sheldon Hao. “Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires across the nation, and fire fighters respond to more than 150,000 of these home fires annually. We encourage everyone to be proactive, as fire safety starts with each individual to safeguard your home.”
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The 2023 Fire Prevention Week will culminate on Oct. 14 with a Family Day at the Honolulu Zoo where the public can learn more about fire safety.