Police: 3-alarm blaze at Waikiki hotel may have been set by burglars

Published: Aug. 6, 2019 at 8:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An investigation into a three-alarm blaze at a Waikiki hotel on Monday night has taken a bizarre turn.

Fire investigators have determined the fire, which shut down Kalakaua Avenue and forced hundreds of guests to evacuate, was intentionally set.

And now in addition to an arson investigation, police have opened two first-degree burglary cases. Investigators say the fire may been set by burglars.

It was the second suspicious Waikiki fire in two days. So far, no arrests have been reported.

The blaze Monday night started about 8:30 p.m. at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger Hotel at 2300 Kalakaua Ave.

The elevators were not working, so crews searched the 25-story building on foot.

They found the fire near a storage room on the 14th floor, where hotel officials say the fire was contained to a bin in an elevator landing.

On Tuesday, fire investigators put the damage estimates at about $1.7 million. HFD said fire sprinklers were automatically activated, which kept the blaze from spreading.

Occupants in a nearby unit reportedly requested help to evacuate but were told to shelter in place since the fire was being controlled by the sprinkler, HFD said.

Kalakaua remained shut down into the 10 p.m. hour.
Kalakaua remained shut down into the 10 p.m. hour.(HNN (custom credit))

A hotel guest said he was headed back to the hotel from dinner at Duke’s Waikiki when he discovered what was happening.

“We were walking in the basement level to get back to our room and as soon as we walked through the passageway, we saw smoke coming down from the elevators, all the doors were open and water was flooding all over the floors, so we were thinking we weren’t allowed back in the hotel,” said Erwin Lutz.

Fire officials said the fire was extinguished just before 9:15 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

Hotel officials issued a statement that said, “the safety and security of our guests and employees is of the utmost importance. We are working closely with the Honolulu Fire Department on this issue and sincerely appreciate its support.”

All lanes of Kalakaua Ave were shut down and remained closed until 11 p.m. Drivers were rerouted onto Seaside Avenue.

This story will be updated.

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