MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 34 hours after it began, Honolulu firefighters finally left the scene of a blaze that destroyed the fiscal management offices at the University of Hawaii's lower campus in Manoa.
Fire officials still have not determined what caused the blaze, but estimated damage at $1 million to the building at $250,000 to its contents, including office furniture and computers.
UH officials believe they may not have lost as much as initially feared. For example, payroll for entire UH system was unaffected.
"Payroll exists on our main computer systems, so it is completely safe," said Lynne Waters, the university's associate vice president for external affairs and university relations. "All that information is secured and undamaged, so payroll will continue.
Waters also said student loan processing is also unaffected. Some paperwork will have to be redone, but isn't completely lost. That includes papers for "internal processing of travel reimbursements and vendor payments, but all of that information originated from another source and is available from another point of origin, so we just have to re-create the paper that accompanied those transactions," said Waters.
Meanwhile, residents on Kolo Place, just makai of the building, returned to their apartments to the smell of smoke from the fire. They had to evacuate Sunday because of the smoke.
"It was kinda crazy yesterday," said resident Lori Kelekolio. "It was traumatizing for all of us that was here. We stayed out here from early in the morning until late last night. We had like three to five minutes to get in our house, get our stuff out."
"They gave us five minutes to pack up our stuff and then head up to the shelter," said resident Jason Timothy. "If we didn't have a place to stay we'd head up to the shelter that they gave us, but we had a place to stay."
The neighbors said a lot of their belongings were ruined, and had to be thrown out.
"We had to clean all day long," Kelekolio said. "Throw away all our beddings, our pillows, our blankets, our beds, our couches, new furniture, new rug, everything we had to get rid of."
"The air is still different," said Timothy. "It doesn't smell right."
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