Five military rockets discovered at scene of Makakilo wildfire

Christin Lamont
Christin Lamont
Terry Seelig
Terry Seelig

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

MAKAKILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - A military explosives disposal team on Wednesday converged on the scene of Tuesday's wildfire in Makakilo to recover several pieces of unexploded ordnance.

Honolulu fire officials described the munitions as "old," and say they did not cause the blaze.

Hawaii News Now has exclusive video of the Army unit preparing for the delicate operation.

In a normally quiet Makakilo neighborhood, members of HPD's Specialized Services Division and the Army's 303rd Explosive Ordnance Battalion geared up for the removal of five military rockets from the brush behind homes. Area resident Christin Lamont says she learned about the munitions Tuesday night.

"One guy just said we found some unexploded ordnance, so we're like, okay, should we be worried," Lamont said. "We really didn't get an answer, so that was why I was really concerned."

After battling wind-swept flames near the new Kahiwelo subdivision Tuesday, Honolulu firefighters stumbled upon the ordnance in the charred brush.

"They saw old, rusted metal which, looking at it closer, it appeared that it was a type of projectile," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said.

Honolulu police say they assessed the situation, secured the scene overnight, and called in the military.

Army officials say three of the old rockets had fuses and were potentially-hazardous. The other two were inert.

"I don't know what I would have done if it went off," Lamont said. "Run out the house?"

The Army says the rockets were 2.75 inches in diameter, and were taken to Schofield Barracks for disposal.

The cause of the wildfire was undetermined.

"There was no explosions that happened during the fire that would have been from the ordnance, so very unlikely that it's related in any way," Seelig said.

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