UH Lab School Fire: One Year Later

Peter Estomago
Peter Estomago

MANOA (KHNL) - June 13th marks one year since a fire engulfed part of the University Laboratory School in Manoa.

The fire torched a 67-year-old building, causing $6.5 million in damage.

Students and faculty spent the past year rebuilding and learning a lot about themselves.

Interim Principal Peter Estomago remembers the scene.

"So basically I just watched the flames on the lower part of our campus and just witnessed the devastation to our building," said Estomago.

In the late afternoon hours of June 13, 2006, fire engulfed a chunk of the school. Flames and smoke could be seen for miles. The fire burned an old building that students used for their orchestra, drama and athletic programs.

The scene is much different on campus these days. Crews replaced the debris with four, new portables.

But the portables didn't arrive until six months after the fire. Students and faculty had to make the most of what little space they had. They rebuilt part of the campus from scratch. And it's taken a full year.

"We had the last piece of equipment in, yesterday," he said.

After a year of change, the school is slowly returning to normalcy. But things, will never be the same.

"There's more awareness," he said.

Police say the fire was intentionally set, but no arrests have been made.