MAKIKI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flames engulfed a Makiki house on Tuesday afternoon, closing several major thoroughfares and sending thick smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.
On Tuesday, Honolulu fire officials said damage was estimated at $1.12 million.
A firefighter battling the flames was taken in serious condition to the hospital after suffering a knee injury. The age of the firefighter and details on the injury were not immediately available.
The fire call came in just after 4 p.m. Monday at the home on Kinau Street near Victoria Street, and it took nearly two hours for firefighters to bring the flames under control.
“It was gigantic. I could feel it across the street,” Makiki resident Craig Fujii said.
Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said some 44 firefighters were dispatched to the blaze.
City records show the 73-year-old, two-story building has been vacant for at least 16 years and had received numerous violations for litter and overgrown brush.
Just last year the owner had obtained permits to demolish the wooden structure.
Lonnie Adams has lived next door to the property for more than a year. He said the fire was a nice surprise.
“I was kind of happy because for the last year and a half, it’s been nothing but a drug infested homeless encampment,” Adams said.
“We just know there were a lot of vagrants, homeless going in and out of the structure. It was set to be demolished. But other than that, we have no credible information,” said HFD Battalion Chief Bryan Soares.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Video sent to Hawaii News Now showed thick smoke visible in the area. Residents also captured images of flames spitting from the home’s roof, igniting a tree and coming dangerously close to other properties. Firefighters were trying to assess the extent of the damage.
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All lanes of Beretania Street at Pensacola Street were shut down with fire crews on scene, but police were able to reopen two lanes of the thoroughfare about 5 p.m.
Kinau Street was also closed, and traffic was backed up on several other roadways.
This story will be updated.