WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Guests and employees at the Pacific Beach Hotel were evacuated Friday afternoon because of a fire on the roof of the hotel's 38-story tower.
The fire was reported at 2:47 p.m. Flames and dark smoke were visible for miles. The first firefighters arrived within five minutes and the blaze was under control 22 minutes after the alarm. No one was hurt and by 5 p.m. guests were allowed back to their rooms.
"I was in McDonald's (across the street) with some friends sitting and talking and having some coffee and people shout fire fire so we run outside and there was a big black cloud," said Petra Bertram, a visitor from Germany.
"Kitty and Jeremiah Hoaeae had just come back to their room on the 22nd floor when they heard sirens.
"And when I looked down I saw the vehicles coming right in front of our building here and so I looked up on the balcony and I saw flames," Kitty Hoaeae told Hawaii News Now.
The Hoaeaes didn't wait for instructions on what to do. They immediately took stairs to the ground floor. Other people who evacuated say a message came over the hotel intercom system telling them to leave.
"So I had to walk down five flights of stairs eight months pregnant," said a woman who works in offices on the fifth floor.
Sky News Now (helicopter) shot video of the damage on the roof.
According to Honolulu Fire Captain Terry Seelig fiberglass building material had caught fire. It was on the roof to be used during installation of a new machine to circulate cool air-conditioned air throughout the building.
Several items on the roof including the machine's enclosure and various air conditioning components were destroyed. The initial damage estimate is $75,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Pacific Beach Hotel issued a statement saying none of its rooms was damaged.
Despite the damage, the air conditioning was working Friday tonight.