‘Fierce’ 2-alarm blaze damages multiple units at Makiki highrise

‘Fierce’ 2-alarm blaze damages multiple units at Makiki highrise

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a two-alarm blaze at a Makiki highrise on Wednesday that sent residents fleeing and damaged several units.

As many as 10 floors at the 17-story Victoria Towers condominium appear to have been affected by fire, smoke or water damage.

It’s unclear how many units may be damaged.

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

A Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said the fire started in unit 604 in the building, and that no one was in the apartment when it started.

The blaze was reported about 10 a.m., and was considered extinguished within about 45 minutes. There are no reports of injuries.

The building, which was built in 1957, did not have fire sprinklers.

In situations like this, HFD says a sprinkler system helps contain a fire within the unit, so that it doesn’t spread and cause further harm.

“When you talk about living in a community that’s a high rise, you really are reliant upon your other neighbors to not make mistakes, living safe fire wise, because it’s going to affect everyone else,” said Capt. Scot Seguirant.

When the fire was at its height, thick smoke was pouring from the 55-unit highrise.

Rich Tillotson, a resident who lives in a nearby condominium, described the fire as “fierce.”

“The fire was really pouring out,” he said. “The smoke would have asphyxiated anyone. I was very concerned for anyone who was close to that fire.”

Brian Huffman and Amy Monthei live in unit 602 in the building ― right next door to where the blaze started ― and said they called 911 after seeing thick smoke coming from their neighbor’s apartment.

Firefighters, Monthei said, “arrived within minutes. Before we were even out of the stairwell."

David Hunter lives in a building near the affected condominium and said he was first alerted to the blaze after smelling smoke and stepping outside to figure out its cause.

“I just looked up and I saw smoke in the sky. The whole building was engulfed in smoke,” he said. “You never see anything like this. The first thing I though was, I hope everyone’s getting out.”

This story will be updated.