Firefighter injured as HFD crews battled ‘intense’ blaze at Kailua business

Firefighters are trying to determine the cause of a two-alarm blaze at a business in Kailua on Friday afternoon.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:09 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Investigators are trying to determine the cause of an “intense” two-alarm blaze at a business and warehouse in Kailua on Friday afternoon that left a responding firefighter injured.

Some 42 firefighters were called to the scene about 4 p.m.

Video posted online showed flames shooting out of the Puna Noni Naturals store on Kapaa Quarry Road.

HFD Capt. Malcolm Medrano said firefighters had to force their way in from the back because there was so much smoke pouring out of the front. A firefighter was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.

He has since been released in good condition.

Rose Polvado, owner of Pomai Kulolo, said her employees tried to put out flames at their neighbor’s business with a water hose and fire extinguisher.

“Flames were just overtaking though,” said Polvado.

“We even got our water hose hooked up, all of our workers came up to try to help.”

Medrano said putting out commercial fires lis challenging because all of the items and products inside pose unexpected hazards and can even make the flames more dangerous.

“In this case, there’s palletized materials. There’s package materials that creates an intense and really hot fire that spreads really, really quickly,” said Medrano.

HFD said there’s recently been more fires involving businesses.

On Thursday night, flames shot up from a wood supply business in Mapunapuna and could be seen from drivers on the H-1 Freeway.

“A lot of times it’s heavy, we might not have confidence in the upper floors, as well,” said Medrano.

“Might be susceptible to caving in and that’s what kind of prevents us from being really aggressive.”

The cause of both fires remain under investigation.