HFD responds to abandoned home fire for a second time this year

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) responded to a fire around 6:30 a.m. on Pensacola Street at an abandoned home that went up in flames for a second time this year.

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HFD said the property is frequented by squatters.

HFD fire crews were called to this address earlier in the year on April 8, 2020, for another fire which caused significant damage to the structure. No injuries were reported for either incident.

Christian Carlos lives across the street from the home and he went knocking on his neighbor’s doors to alert them of the fire next door.

“Nobody awake and kind of shocked,” Carlos said. “I was pounding on the door, woke them up, and went to the next house woke, them up.”

This is the second time Carlos witnessed a fire on the property in the six months he has lived in the neighborhood.

“This house has been abandoned, fully loaded with rubbish,” Carlos said. “There was a fire here in the past so they should’ve broken this house down a long time ago.”

Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting issued a violation to the owner for failing to repair or demolish the structure after the fire in April.

The city said the property owner has four open notices totaling $437,650 in civil fines. A judge granted the city permission to trespass on the property to clear the exterior.

The Makiki Neighborhood Board Chair Ian Ross said this was an attempt from the city to try to clear the rubbish, but it did not last long.

Ross said, “To give you some idea of how abandoned it was, how out of control it’d become, there were 28 truckloads of waste, weighing 45 tons removed from the property in 2018.”

The owner was to reimburse the city for the cleaning expenses but it has not received payments yet.

Even after numerous warning letters, the city said the owner has not responded.

Ross said the city should take more decisive action and remove the hazardous litter from the property.

“We call upon them to use what they can to clean it up to abate the property to remove public nuisances,” Ross said. “This is not a crazy law we are proposing, Bill 52 from 2014 allows this to occur and that was passed by the council member who represents the area.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, HFD estimates $300,000 worth of damage from the fire.

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