Waialua Fire Causes Problems for Waianae

Edward Ho
Edward Ho

WAIANAE (KHNL) - For the second day in a row, thick smoke from the huge Waialua fire is crossing the Waianae mountain range, and causing problems for many residents.

Ashes and soot from the Waialua fire land here. For some, the smoke makes this a difficult place to be.

"I was sneezing and coughing, even in my room I was doing that, said Makaha Resident, 9-year-old Ishtar Coen.

Wednesday, conditions improved. It's still smokey, but residents say its not as bad as Tuesday.

"The winds yesterday, I don't know if that hurricane had anything to do with it blowing it in, but the smoke was so bad that you couldn't see, it was like the 4th of July or New Year's when it used to be it was so smokey it was unbelievable," said Makaha Resident Brice Penzien.

Students got a break because of the smoke. Waianae High and Makaha Elementary let students out early Tuesday, and closed today. And, the local emergency room saw a spike in patients.

"We normally see about eight to ten respiratory patients a day, on a normal day, we increased that number yesterday by about a 100 percent believe it or not, 16 to 20 patients, said Edward Ho of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

For people with pre-existing breathing conditions, leaving the area proved to be the best solution.

"My father in law is old and he has difficulty breathing so they had to relocate to Pearl Ridge, down at the mall," said Penzien.

They're breathing easier today, but with the fire still burning, smoke isn't this family's only concern.

"Maybe the hot ashes coming off could burn down the house or something. If we have to evacuate, we have to evacuate. That's what we pay our insurance for. If the house goes down I guess they'll build us a new one, said."

Doctors we spoke with say even though the smoke has visibly dissipated on the Waianae coast, its affects are still lingering; and, residents should be very cautious about smoke exposure.