HFD still evaluating cause of Marco Polo blaze; resident frustrations rise

HFD still evaluating cause of Marco Polo blaze; resident frustrations rise

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly two months after a massive seven-alarm fire ripped through the Marco Polo condominium, the Honolulu Fire Department says it is still in the process of finalizing the investigation.

HFD Capt. David Jenkins said so far, officials know that the blaze did not start as a kitchen fire. They also say there's no indication that it was intentionally set.

Jenkins said there's no timeline for the final incident report as officials want to take their time to ensure they do it right. It will likely take a few weeks before the full report is released.

He also said the department would address any rumors after releasing the official cause.

Meanwhile, some tenants are expressing frustration that they're not hearing more about the investigation, especially from property manager Associa.

"We've been told that there's asbestos issues, that there's lead issues, but we haven't gotten further with that kind of information," said Paul Rausch. He and his wife rented apartment 2503, just one floor beneath the unit where the fire started. His wife was able to get into the apartment just once to retrieve valuables.

"I'd love to see like, what is the contamination level and is our stuff salvageable. Can we take that data someplace and analyze it," said Rausch. "Is our bed livable? Can we use our couch any more?"

Joel Horiguchi's 25th floor apartment suffered severe water damage. But the floor has been boarded up.

"A lot of the finance that we're paying now for a new place could've been avoided if we were able to retrieve certain things in the first place," he said.

"They restrict who goes there. Even our technicians are restricted from going there," said Andrew Fortin, senior vice president of external affairs for Associa. "But that process will be concluding as we get into September and October."

He also promised that residents would hear much more very soon.

"They've gone through the process of inspecting all the units expect for the floors that are restricted, putting together customized plans for each of those, because each damage to those units is going to be unique," said Fortin.

The July 14 fire, which broke out in unit 2602, killed three people. Another Marco Polo resident, who was hospitalized after the fire, died a few weeks later.

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