Fire crews from all around Oahu were called to the historic Waialua Sugar Mill for a three-alarm fire this afternoon that caused nearly $1.2 million in damage.
The mill’s last harvest was in 1996, but the mill site now houses several small businesses — and at least two of them were destroyed today.
Arriving companies found one of the buildings on the property 50-percent engulfed in flames.
One of the businesses on the site is Sparrow Surfboards, owned by Drew Sparrow.
“It was my friend Dan Moore’s wood shop and there’s lots of lumber that was in there and I think that most of it just, fueled the fire.”
Sparrow also says that Moore, who is off-island, had a film company and expressed hope that his production equipment was not inside.
State records show that Moore’s woodworking business is called Wholesale Cabinets LLC. He also owns Outereef Productions, which makes surf films, as well as Sugar Mill Films, a distribution company.
Witnesses say another cabinet-maker also shared the space.
Acting Battalion Chief Lyndon Shima says there were chemical cannisters and paint cans in the warehouse, but the lumber Sparrow mentioned, fueled the flames.
“Just because of the heavy load content. There was a lot of wood in there, we seen here, as you can see out here in the front of the structure, there’s tree stumps, there’s also a lot of combustibles inside.”
The fire was extinguished within two-and-a-half hours.
Sparrow says the community of small businesses at the sugar mill is tightly knit, so they keep an eye out for one another and are watchful of people who might cause trouble.
“There was a fire, a small fire that was put out pretty quick. That was from some guys that did a little abandoned car fire about two months ago. So we’re all like, wary that it could happen at any moment. But I don’t think that was the case this time.”
The Honolulu Fire Department is investigating the cause.
OFFICIAL HONOLULU FIRE DEPARTMENT STATEMENT:
The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) responded with 14 units staffed with 45 personnel to a building fire at the Old Waialua Sugar Mill located at 67-106 Kealohanui Street. The first unit arrived at 3:10 p.m. to find a one-story warehouse structure with smoke and flames involved in 50% of the structure.
Personnel established command, secured a water source and commenced with firefighting operations. The fire was brought under control at 4:29 p.m. and the fire was extinguished at 5:34 p.m.
It was reported that no one was inside the structure at the time of the fire. The building was being used as a wood mill. No injuries were reported.
The fire is under investigation and a cause has not yet been determined. Fire damages are estimated at $1,012,500 to the structure and $180,000 to its contents.