Fire Safety Concerns Arise After High-Rise Fire

Alfred Macaibay
Alfred Macaibay
Battalion Chief Kenison Tejada
Battalion Chief Kenison Tejada

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Charred walls and black soot fill the hallway of the building's 25th floor. Alfred Macaibay lives on this floor, and heard about the fire when he was at work.

"Hope it's not my unit or close by," recalled Macaibay. "So I know it was opposite mine or next to mine but I knew it was on my floor."

His apartment was spared. He only suffered charred carpet near his front door.

Although this building has fire alarms, it does not have a sprinkler system. Fire officials say it may have contributed to the fire spreading so quickly.

"If you live in a non-sprinklered building, you have to do even more careful planning," said Battalion Chief Kenison Tejada of the Honolulu Fire Department. "In the event something happens, you have to have a way out."

Macaibay said after Tuesday's fire, it makes him think twice about living in a high-rise without a sprinkler system.

"A little bit," he said. "It's kind of high up. Like the fire, it's kind of hard to fight fire without the sprinklers and it took them a while."

But other residents aren't worried.

"I've lived in the building for fifteen years, and I feel very secure," said Laura Pettit, who lives in the building's 13th floor.

Whether you live in a building with sprinklers or not, fire officials said it's important to have an exit plan, to prepare for a worst case scenario.

Since 1975, high rise buildings are required to have sprinkler systems installed in them. But Kapiolani Manor was built in 1971, making it exempt from this requirement.