'Beyond compare': Mayor commends emergency crews for highrise fire response

'Beyond compare': Mayor commends emergency crews for highrise fire response
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MOILIILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over 100 firefighters and other emergency crews responded to the fire at the Marco Polo building on Kapiolani Boulevard Friday, and worked into the night to contain the blaze.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell praised the joint efforts of emergency response crews.

"I was extremely proud of the fact that the Honolulu Fire Department stepped up from chief Neves all the way down to the lowest rank," Mayor Caldwell said in a press conference. "Our EMS people stepped up and transported people to different health facilities. And of course the Honolulu Police Department ... made sure that our streets were closed and other alternative streets were provided for access to the fire scene, but also for the residents of Honolulu."

Firefighters battled the blaze from inside the building for over five hours. At one point, HFD reportedly needed to pull back the crew due to the intensity of the flames.

One firefighter was seriously injured and treated for heat exhaustion. That firefighter has since been released.

HFD officials said crews manually carried equipment up to the 29th floor because the elevators were inoperable. Crews also went door-to-door ensuring residents safely evacuated or sheltered in place.

"We could never do it on our own," Neves of HFD said. "We have a lot of resources, but there are certain things we need our partners for. We work seamlessly throughout the year."

"I want to thank all our first responders. It's days like this they train for," Caldwell said. "I think they responded beyond compare. Very proud. I want to thank them all."

'Iolani School served as an overnight shelter until residents were allowed to return Saturday morning.

"Our hearts go out to the families of the folks that lost their lives and the folks that lost their possessions in their apartments. It's always a sad thing for the fire department," Neves added.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.