The Marco Polo highrise blaze that killed three, injured a dozen, and damaged hundreds of units was actually a seven-alarm fire, the Honolulu Fire Department determined in a post-incident analysis Thursday.
HFD had originally called the fire on July 14 a five-alarm blaze, but amended the status Thursday after reviewing the incident in what the department calls an "after action review" meeting.
More than 120 firefighters and 15 fire engines and six ladder trucks responded to the fire.
Capt. David Jenkins, HFD spokesman, said he's been a firefighter for 25 years and this is the biggest, most complex fire he has ever seen.
"I can honestly say ... this is one of the largest fires that the Honolulu fire department responded to and one of the most destructive fires in Honolulu's recent history," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said and after action review is held after every major fire.
"We're reviewing the lessons learned. Things that went well that we'd like to repeat. Also things that we could take away and do better next time," said Jenkins, adding that about 30 to 40 firefighters who were at the highrise fire attended Thursday's meeting.
HFD officials said their analysis found that about one-third of the department's resources and equipment were used on the fire.
And, they said, firefighters saved at least five people on the 26th floor, where the blaze originated.
"There were lives saved directly from action of the firefighters who went into harms way and pulled people out of their apartments that were trapped...at least five individuals trapped on the fire floor...there were other people who were also trapped in floors above that were rescued by firefighting efforts as well," said Jenkins.
He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"As far as the cause, they have ruled out things, but I'm not going to discussing what they have ruled out until the investigator is comfortable with me releasing that information."
Jenkins confirmed the department's mobile command center that is normally deployed for large fires was dispatched but never got to the scene. He also confirmed not all of their executive staff was on scene, saying, "it is an issue and the fire department will continue discussing that issue."
Jenkins would not talk about the fire chief filing a police report to investigate a confidential HFD document leaked to the media, nor the criticism by the firefighters' union.