Man suffers burns in fire at Hilo woodworking shop

David Stevenson
David Stevenson

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire at a Hilo woodworking shop Sunday afternoon. The owner of the business suffered injuries in the blaze.

Sunday in Downtown Hilo suddenly turned hectic when fire broke out towards the rear of the Moses Building at about 12:45 PM.

"I heard a loud couple of pops," David Stevenson, neighbor, said. "We went to the back door and opened it up and saw lots of smoke."

About 35 firefighters from Central Hilo, Kawailani, Kaumana and Waiakea responded to the scene to battle the flames.

"It was burning very vigorously," Stevenson said. "You could see white, black and even some red smoke going up. It looked like it flared up a couple of times. I thought we might lose the whole block."

Fire officials say this was a very difficult one to combat because of the older construction of the building and the accumulation of items inside.

"We had one occupant who was injured during the fire," Darren Rosario, assistant fire chief, said. "He was working in his establishment to the rear of this building, a woodworking shop."

The blaze caused extensive damage to the woodworking shop, as well as smoke and water damage to neighboring businesses. Kapoho Kine Adventures was setting up for its grand opening.

"We're going to be selling activities, lots of other things," Garry Marrow, Kapoho Kine Adventures, said. "We were opening actually tomorrow. So, yeah, it doesn't look like tomorrow is going to be our opening day."

This isn't the first time this building has made headlines.

"The Moses Building is where Roger Christie's THC Ministry used to be," Stevenson said. "It was in the news back in July when the federal agents came and took him off to jail."

Members of the alleged marijuana growing and distribution ring are awaiting trial.

Meanwhile, the remaining establishments are trying to pick up the pieces following this latest incident.

"We came on out and watched as all the firemen arrived and hooked up their hoses," Stevenson said. "They did a fantastic job of getting on it right away."

Fire officials say the man in the woodworking shop suffered second-degree burns and was in good condition.

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