Flames rip through 2-story apartment near UH’s lower campus

Two women were treated for smoke inhalation, and one was taken to the hospital.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 11:20 AM HST|Updated: May. 1, 2022 at 5:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thick smoke was seen billowing Sunday morning during a large fire at an apartment building in McCully, near UH Manoa’s Lower Campus.

The flames ripped through the two-story building located along Varsity Circle, just a street over from UH’s Les Murakami Stadium around 10:50 a.m.

HFD rushed to the two-alarm fire with 36 personnel, and began attacking the flames, which drew concerned neighbors out of their homes.

“This morning, (I) smelled burning plastic and got curious and looked outside and the street was filled with smoke, so I knew something was up, something was burning,” witness Eli Marcotte said.

Thick smoke billowed from what appeared to be a portable building at UH Manoa Sunday.
Thick smoke billowed from what appeared to be a portable building at UH Manoa Sunday.(HNN)

The fire engulfed the second story of the building, and HFD says the structure started to collapse around 11:10 a.m.

“Some people heard an initial boom and then the fire started. I heard a couple bangs, but I think it was from glass breaking and things inside going ‘pow,’” Marcotte added.

The upstairs units were completely gutted while the downstairs apartments sustained water damage. At last check, officials also said they were searching for pet dogs that were unaccounted for.

Gusty winds fanned the fire, but HFD was able to contain it to the initial building.

“Wind and weather is always a factor in the movement and control of the fire. So in this case, the fire started upwind and traveled downwind,” HFD Capt. Randall Lindsey said.

The fire was brought under control just before 11:30 a.m., and fully extinguished just after noon.

Two women who lived next door, ages 57 and 59, were treated for smoke inhalation, according to EMS. One of them was taken to a hospital in serious condition.

Neighbors say the residents of the unit weren’t home when the fire started. They are being aided by the American Red Cross as investigators work to determine a cause.

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