Brush fire knocks out power for Kailua-Aikahi residents

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - For a good part of Wednesday evening, 500 residents around Kalaheo High school were sitting in the dark.

Candles and flashlights were certainly coming in handy in Kailua Wednesday night.

It's all related to a slow-moving brushfire that Honolulu firefighters have contained.

The fire broke at about 6:45 p.m. in the area straddling Kalaheo High School, Mokapu Saddle Road and the H-3 freeway.

Winds were favorable so officials say no homes or property were ever threatened. The biggest problem for the 25 firefighters was getting to the flames because they burned on some pretty steep, overrun terrain behind the high school.

Honolulu Fire Department Captain Terry Seelig explained, "Firefighters, they're having to advance hose lines over the ground.  The ground is fairly steep.  It's very uneven surface. Of course, the night doesn't help. Difficult to see."

Eyewitness Daniel Martinez shared, "The first thing I saw when I was coming down was a big ball. It was just a big flame."

The power went out for thousands in Kailua.  Around the same time the fire started crews discovered a downed power pole near the blaze, but they're not sure if that's what sparked it or if the pole fell "after" the fire began.

As of 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, Hawaiian Electric has restored power to nearly all customers affected by a power outage in the Kailua-Aikahi area. Approximately 10 customers in the vicinity of Kapaa Quarry remain out of power. These customers will remain out of power  until repairs can be made to some equipment located on the Kalaheo hillside.

Due to the darkness and terrain, HECO crews will not be able to complete these repairs until daylight.

The cause of the outage remains under investigation.

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