Makaha Fire Force Hundreds to Evacuate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Makaha Fire Force Hundreds to Evacuate

Ronald DeSoto, Jr. Ronald DeSoto, Jr.
Captain Frank Johnson Captain Frank Johnson
Greg Moon Greg Moon

By Walter Makaula

MAKAHA (KHNL) -- Hundreds of people are forced to evacuate Friday evening in West Oahu as flames come dangerously close to their homes.

The fast-moving brush fire ripped through Makaha Valley, and raged out of control.

The fire sparked at about 3:00 Friday afternoon, and quickly engulfed a large section of the mountainside.

Flames lit up the night sky.

But it was the thick black smoke that posed the biggest threat from the very beginning.

"It just started to get really, really smoky," said Ronald DeSoto, Jr., a witness. "Really, really smoky."

And it didn't take long for officials to do something about it.

"We get a knock on the door, guys coming," said DeSoto.  "Two men at the door with masks on telling us that we need to evacuate."

That's because the fire, which had started across the street, had now jumped the road and spread behind the Makaha Tower. And to make matters worse, the winds were fueling the flames.

Smoke filled a good portion of the valley.

"Our concern is for the people in the tower, and we're really trying to stress that if they don't need to be in the smoky environment, that they would go someplace else and have dinner or something like that, and make sure that they're not exposed to too much smoke," Captain Frank Johnson, a public information officer with the Honolulu Fire Department.

More than ten residential towers front the mountainside engulfed in flames.  Firefighters have asked many of the people who live inside to evacuate.  So far, many already have.

Greg Moon and his brother Dustin live at the Makaha Towers.

"We left all of our stuff behind because we had no time to take our stuff," said Greg Moon.  "So everything is still up there."

Hundreds of others packed up what they could, while some were not so lucky.

As their homes take center stage and light up the night sky, all they can do is watch from afar and hope for the best.

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