Displaced residents look to pick up pieces after fatal highrise fire

(Image: Joel Horiguchi)
(Image: Joel Horiguchi)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents who live on the floors heavily damaged by Friday's fatal fire at the Marco Polo building say they are anxious to get into their apartments and salvage whatever belongings they still can.

The 26th to the 28th floors remain closed, as well as the Ewa ends of the 24th, 25th and 29th floors.

"As things stand right now, we're homeless. Basically, the whole reality set in the day after when we realized you know we don't have a place to go right now. We don't have the funds to go anywhere or to even think of looking for a new apartment," said resident Joel Horiguchi.

Horiguchi's 25th floor apartment sustained major water damage as fire crews battled the deadly blaze above for hours.

He says he was briefly allowed back into his apartment 1:00 am Saturday morning to grab a few belongings.

"It was pitch black. Couldn't see anything, but I could feel the water on my shoes. When I opened up the door, sure enough, the whole entire floor was covered in an inch or over of water and water was seeping down all sides of the walls," he said.

Among some of the things he took with him -- a suit, groomsmen shirts, and bridesmaid dresses for his wedding in two weeks.

"There's still plenty of things up there that we need for our wedding. We need the centerpieces and the decorations. A lot of the favors and everything are all gone because they're on the ground right now," Horiguchi said.

Horiguchi says the hallways on the affected floors have been boarded up. And the water even made its way down to the lobby where residents have been lining up to get more information and supplies.

"I'm staying at a hotel right now and just waiting," said resident Wadsley Wong.

Wong -- who lives on the 26th floor -- hasn't been allowed back to his apartment since the fire broke out Friday.

He says the deaths of this three neighbors are devastating. As the owner of his unit, he believes the cost of installing fire sprinklers is a small price to pay for piece of mind.

The sprinkler thing concerned me years ago after so many fires we had. After seeing all of this, it should be mandatory," Wong said.

All other residents have been allowed to return home.

There's no answer to what caused a massive fire, but investigators say the flames began in unit 2602.

The man who lived there is not considered a suspect at this time, but he was arrested on an unrelated warrant.

The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, sources say, but investigators haven't ruled anything out. It could take weeks to make a final determination.

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