Street where violent rampage happened reopens, but a sense of normal is likely years away

Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 7:08 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three days after a man’s deadly rampage in the Diamond Head area, dozens of displaced residents were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday.

But life along Hibiscus Drive is unlikely to return to normal anytime soon.

Hawaiian Electric Company said it hopes to restore power to at least 40 homes in the area by Wednesday night or early Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, HECO crews got their first look at the damage to utility lines and power equipment on Hibiscus Drive.

Five homes were destroyed by flames Sunday when a man went on a violent crime spree.

Police believe he killed his landlord, fatally shot two police officers responding to his home and then started the fire that took hours to put out.

HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg said Wednesday that the good news is that most power equipment seems to be intact.

“We’re going to energize slowly to make sure there’s nothing unexpected," he added.

Residents in most of the homes that are still livable were temporarily displaced due to the outage and the ongoing criminal investigation.

Michael Wurtz, disaster mental health lead for the Hawaii Red Cross, said allowing residents to return to their homes will bring back some sense of normalcy.

But he added that many will continue be traumatized by the tragedy ― even those whose homes were not damaged by the fire.

“Survivors’ guilt is a common feature in a neighborhood like this," Wurtz said.

“We’ve been working with people who come by and they talk a lot about they feel badly for their neighbors because nothing happened to their home.”

Diamond Head Neighborhood Board Member Linda Wong has lived in the community for four decades. She said she believes people will suffer from PTSD in the wake of the rampage.

“This kind of stress will create those long-lasting effects and it will compound on you," she said.

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