PUHI, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) – Several businesses are tallying up their losses following an early-morning warehouse fire on Kauai. County officials estimate the damages will be in the millions.
The Garden Island Newspaper used the warehouse to store much of its newsprint. But it has already come up with a solution to keep the presses running.
About 30 firefighters -- some from as far away as Hanapepe and Kapaa -- rushed to Puhi on the southeast side of Kauai to battle the flames.
"I saw the flames. They were leaping pretty high, maybe 40, 50 feet up into the air," BB Choi, Kauai's FM 97, said. "The fire trucks were shooting water all over the place."
The fire broke out at about 4:45 AM. The concern intensified when authorities realized there was a gasoline tanker parked nearby. Police evacuated people in the immediate area and shut down Puhi Road.
"When I got the call about the tanker filled with gasoline, then I knew it was a real danger and I left," Choi said.
Crews were able to keep the flames away from the tanker.
The corrugated metal warehouse was home to Kauai Freight, Beachside Roofing, Hamco, and a surfboard and boat repair shop. The Garden Island Newspaper also used it to store two to three months worth of newsprint.
"There was complete, 100% loss of our off-site newsprint storage facility and any remaining rolls of newsprint were continuing to be doused with water," Randy Kozerski, publisher, said.
But competitor Honolulu Star-Bulletin has already stepped in, offering to sell a whole container of paper. That daily recently merged with the Honolulu Advertiser.
"I believe that's one of the main reasons why they do have some newsprint that they can spare at the moment," Kozerski said. "We will not have any disruption of service to our readers and advertisers."
County officials say the fire was contained about two hours later, and was finally deemed under control at noon. No one was injured.
"We're very relieved to hear that," Kozerski said. "Newsprint is something that we can replace."
The fire was fully extinguished at about four PM. The cause remains under investigation.