HONOLULU (KHON2) — An early morning fire in Kakaako took hours to get under control and heavily damaged several businesses. Some owners said it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
The Honolulu Fire Department got the 911 call just after 1:30 Wednesday morning. Officials said firefighters went inside a used surfboard shop to battle the flames but had to go back out to regroup.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
“The fire spread quickly and it reached the rooftop, at which time we exited the building and are now in the defensive posture up with our aerial master streams,” said HFD Capt. Malcolm Medrano.
As firefighters responded to the incident, roads were closed on Queen and Kawaiahao Streets both between Cooke and Kamani Streets.
Next to the surfboard shop is the warehouse for Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks, a family-owned business that’s been around for four decades.
“It’s devastating it’s not just my business it’s my family’s business, it’s used surfboards that was next to us, the BMW shop that was behind them,” said Rebecca Lin, whose family owns the business.
“We’ll pick up, we’ll regroup. We’ll figure out something as a family, as a community. We’re very thankful to have been here for as long as we have about 40 years,” said Lin.
Lin said their whole inventory is gone. This is the time of year when they’re trying to fill all the online orders. So now that’s not gonna happen.
Lin’s still has a store nearby on Kamakee Street. The owners said that will remain open but only until the inventory lasts.
“If anybody wants to come by and support or just say hi, that would really mean everything to us,” said Lin.
Next to Lin’s is Pacific Auto. While the flames never reached the place, there was smoke damage and a lot of cleaning up to do from the flooding.
“We’re actually booked for the next three or four months. With the repairs, this is a small setback we got business we just want to work that’s all but now we have to dedicate more time to cleaning up,” said Edward Chergui, owner of Pacific Auto.
“So one thing the that was real — that was really good was that the community assisted us with was that they offered us a vantage point in one of their rooms in the tower over here on the mauka side,” said the HFD officer.
The fire was extinguished by 6:57 a.m. and roads have since reopened.
According to the HFD investigator, the cause of the fire was accidental.
The investigator reported that the fire was caused by an inadvertently turned-on appliance used to melt wax off surfboards.
Flames caught a surfboard and surrounding fuels which spread through the warehouse and other nearby businesses.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
The total estimated cost of damage according to HFD is $4,528,000.