By Mary Simms
PEARL CITY (KHNL) - An early morning fire, in Pearl City, destroys businesses in a shopping center. Crews responded to the alarm at the Waiau Center, at about 1:30 AM.
Flames rip through this complex, devastating these small businesses. One witness says, she heard an explosion, moments before the fire took hold.
"I was sleeping then I heard it. It was very loud, I thought maybe bomb or gun," said Waiau resident Maria Escoto.
Investigators say the fire started in the Ewa end of this strip mall, affecting four of the nine businesses.
Firefighters had the fire contained by 3:00 a.m. but, because the structure wasn't safe to enter, it smoldered until daylight. Ocean Fresh Fish, The Hawaiian Chef, and Pat's Island Delight's, were "hit" hardest.
We were able to go inside the shop at the end of the fire's path, a bakery. The damage there was minimal, compared to the severely burned adjacent shops.
"So I came, and this is what we've had, so at least we didn't get gutted out," said Sharon Samson. "Other than that, we're minor compared to the rest of the units."
Sharon says she feels for the owners of the shops that were gutted by the fire.
"Pat's going to be awfully upset because this is his main store, his busiest store."