HONOLULU (KHON2) — A large boulder smashed into a Palolo family’s home and nearly hit one of the owners. Community members are raising concerns about a development next door that excavated the mountain.

They said there were no boulders rolling down the valley before the development, and they have now experienced three boulders coming down in the last 24 hours. 

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

It was the closest of calls for Caroline Sasaki. A massive boulder went right through her home and barely avoided her Saturday night, Jan. 28.

“Today, I am a little better; but last night, I was very shaken. I really didn’t know what happened except for the loud boom.”

Caroline Sasaki, Palolo resident

She said it was hard to sleep. The family had just moved back in about a week ago into their newly built home.

Sasaki grew up in the neighborhood and said large boulders rolling down the hill are not common. Other longtime residents also agreed. 

They said what has changed is a home development project and the carving of the mountain behind Sasaki’s home. 

“We lived in this same location. We just knocked down the old house and rebuilt it; and it’s never happened before, heavy rain and hurricane warnings nothing. So, no rocks ever came down,” Sasaki said. “We’ve had some issues with them carving the mountain, and I don’t know if that’s the cause.”

The development owner Bingning Li said his project and the boulder incidents are not connected. 

“Not at all, this is from way above, I looked at one of those rocks about 50 feet away from on top of the property and landed over there and then made its way down here,” Li said. “So it hit one of the cables that was supposed to stop it and the cable snapped. That took a lot of energy away otherwise this damage would be way more.”

Li said he will bring engineers to inspect the project and reinforce a barrier wall along his project. 

Concerned residents want answers before anyone gets hurt. 

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Sasaki said, “Department of permitting and planning, the Department of Emergency Management, the mayor, the councilman, they should all get involved because people’s lives are at stake.”