Fire rips through Aiea homeless encampment

Published: Nov. 12, 2015 at 11:00 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2015 at 1:34 PM HST
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AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu firefighters extinguished a fire early Thursday that destroyed part of a known homeless encampment near a bike path behind the HomeWorld furniture store in Aiea.

Honolulu Fire Capt. David Jenkins said four fire companies with 11 personnel responded to the scene at 1:06 a.m.

No one was hurt, but the fire destroyed trash and other property in the encampment.

Crews got the flames -- which spread to the surrounding trees and brush area -- under control in less than 20 minutes. They managed to extinguish the blaze by 2:15 a.m. The damage was contained to about a 1,000-square-foot area.

The fire and brush was burning within about 50 yards of a nearby tire shop, where several piles of rubber tires are stacked. Numerous vehicles, some with people living inside them, were also parked on the property.

The cause of the fire is unknown. No witnesses have come forward with any information to aid authorities in determining the cause.

Other homeless people living in the undamaged side of the encampment said that they will stay there and try to clean up the fire damage.

Hawaii News Now spoke with a homeless man who stressed that he likes living out there, free of homeless shelter rules. But he was glad fire crews were able to stop the flames from burning his tent and property.

Area residents and bike path users have been increasingly complaining about the homeless encampments along the unlit bike path in the Pearl City and Aiea areas that they say are often riddled with camps, trash and illegal activities such as drug use and bicycles thefts.

It's unclear at this point who owns the land that this particular homeless encampment sits on and what actions can be taken to address the problems raised by residents.

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