Red Cross of Hawaii assisting displaced residents of Palolo Homes explosion

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It’s been an unimaginable day for residents at Palolo Homes.

The Red Cross of Hawaii told KHON2 32 people are displaced from their units. Four of those families are staying with family and friends, but the organization is stepping in to help the others who don’t have a place a to go.

“They’re just in shock. They’re really shocked, really surprised. They’re glad there were no fatalities and they’re really, really sad and upset and anxious to hear the results of the people who were taken away in an ambulance,” said Paul Klink, a Red Cross volunteer.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the Red Cross initially had over 100 people needing assistance. 

That number dropped once the other buildings were deemed safe to return to.

Maintenance crews and staff quickly got to work boarding up windows and cleaning debris.

“We’re trying to work to get the units back in shape so that the families displaced can move back in there,” said David Nakamura, Exec. Director for the Mutual Housing Association of Hawaii.

It’s not clear when residents who lived in building 27 will be able to come back home.

Besides food and shelter, the Red Cross is also offering another kind of support once the initial shock wears off.

“Maybe an hour or so later, there is this concern about ‘what do I do now?’ and ‘where do I go?'” said Ron Matayoshi, another volunteer for Red Cross.

“All of them will get support as far as psychological first aid which is so important right now because to come home to this after a long day of work, I can’t even imagine,” Klink said. We’re just doing whatever we can to comfort everyone and especially everyone in this building to get them ready for their new version of normal which is starting immediately.”

Although some of the affected residents didn’t want to speak on camera, they told KHON2 the community at the complex is very tight-knit.

“It’s a strong community, they try to take care of each other so they’ll come back from this tragedy,” Nakamura said.

The Honolulu Fire Department is still trying to determine a cause.

Be sure to stay with KHON2 for the latest updates on this story.

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