Dozens turn out for council meeting to discuss fire hazards in Honolulu highrises

Dozens turn out for council meeting to discuss fire hazards in Honolulu highrises

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been just over 2 months since a deadly inferno ripped through the Marco Polo building in Moilili.

To address concerns from Honolulu residents, city officials held a community meeting Saturday to discuss fire prevention tips, current regulations and even financial recovery strategies following a fire.

"The committee has recognized that condos and high-rises, co-ops included, are different so the statute - the ordinance that's going to come out of the city council cannot be a one size fits all," condo representative Jane Sugimura said.

The meeting was held at the Mission Memorial Auditorium, and was requested by a handful of councilmembers. Their goal was to inform community members on how to prevent and handle fire-related disasters.

"We need to create a matrix of all the things and codes that keep people safe and be able to weight them so every building knows what its safety factors are. You've heard about some of them - the height of the building, the size of the building," Assistant Chief Bratakos, an HFD member of the panel, said.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, there are almost 400 residential highrise buildings without fire sprinkler systems. There are also hundreds of buildings over 75 feet tall that don't have sprinklers installed.

In late August, the Honolulu City Council deferred a measure that would've required the retrofitting of all buildings with sprinkler systems.

Some were concerned over the costs of retrofitting, but advocates of the bill — including Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell — said no cost was too high when it came to potential life saving measures.

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