Neighbors deal with fallout from UH fire

Momi Crabbe
Momi Crabbe

MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Clean up crews dig at debris left by the fire and demolition of the University of Hawaii's Fiscal Management building. But on the other side of the barricade, in apartments side-by-side with the site, Momi Crabbe and her neighbors work, too, to clean the soot that settles on everything.

"Every day we have to wipe the beds before the kids go down to sleep." she said.

A HEPA filter runs 24/7. The smell of smoke hasn't left, neither has the worry.

"We're just hoping that in the long term, it's not going to affect us negatively. There are some families who haven't returned because their children are asthmatic and they just can't be here," Crabbe said.

The clothesline out back is next to the barricade, the dust and the smell. So her laundry hangs on railings out front. What couldn't fit in the washer was trashed.

"We really don't feel like anyone who's in charge of anything has come to help us, to say to us, 'Listen, we can see the situation, and we want to help you,'" she said.

Lynne Waters, associate vice president of UH External Affairs and University Relations, said after the fire, she handed out flyers to residents who live close to the site. The statement said no hazardous materials burned in the blaze.

"We do want to hear from them." she said. "The risk management folks can help them file a claim. We want to make sure that they're taken care of."

Crabbe estimates smoke, dust and debris ruined $20,000 worth of her possessions. Her neighbors are in the same boat. She thinks UH should provide temporary housing away from the mess and stress.

"Right now, all we know is that at the end of the day there's cleaning to be done to get ready for the next day," she said.

And there are no days off.

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