Boy spared in Palolo landslide - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Boy spared in Palolo landslide

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A rock fall shattered a Palolo home Friday night. A little boy almost died on 10th Avenue, when giant boulders plowed through his house, and came to rest within a foot of his feet.

At 5:15 p.m. an extremely loud crackle rang out in Palolo Valley. Fire crews heard the noise from blocks away. They rushed to the homes across from Palolo Elementary and quickly urged a neighborhood evacuation. One look at the pictures, and two huge boulders weighing hundreds of pounds, and you can imagine the shock.

A little boy had a brush with death that left him screaming in panic. Captain Earle Kealoha of the Honolulu Fire Department described, "It fell through the roof, narrowly missed a young child who happened to be using the bathroom, and then it fell through the floor of the building."

The second rock, similar in size, bulldozed through a bedroom, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the house, before landing next to the little one. The boy's mom ran in, grabbed her son, and sprinted outside, but it wasn't over yet. A third boulder crashed down the mountain side, and into a storage shed, narrowly missing the house next door. Kealoha said, "I was given a description that it might have been half the size of an automobile so that was larger than the other two rocks."

When firefighters arrived at the 10th Avenue homes, they asked five families to evacuate. Three agreed and left their homes right away. "Our major concern was for the occupants, in the dwelling, to make sure they were safe," explained Kealoha.

The rock fall displaced nine people, including that little boy. The Red Cross will be helping two people who have nowhere to stay. No one was hurt, but the damage is estimated at $100,000. Captain Kealoha says, "The State Warning Point, out of the State Civil Defense will be a liaison to try to help the occupants make sure that the area will be safe from future landslides."

Officials have contacted the Palolo homeowners. Soon, the State Civil Defense will return to the scene to help figure out a plan to protect the area.

This is the third rock fall on Oahu in less than six months.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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