HFD: 7-alarm Marco Polo blaze caused $100M in damage

HFD: 7-alarm Marco Polo blaze caused $100M in damage
Published: Aug. 1, 2017 at 4:10 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 at 10:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The seven-alarm highrise blaze at the Marco Polo condos that killed three people and left a dozen others injured caused more than $100 million in damage, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said Tuesday.

The blaze is "considered to be one of the most destructive fires in Honolulu's recent history," HFD said.

Some residents were shocked over the huge damage estimate, while others were not.

"I'm not surprised," said 12th floor resident Will Brown. "I don't even begin to understand the insurance and cost of this, so it does not surprise me when somebody says it's $100 million worth," Brown said.

Some 210 units in the 36-story highrise were damaged in the July 14 fire, which required more than 120 firefighters, 15 fire engines and six ladder trucks to extinguish — or about one-third of the department's resources and equipment.

Officials said 80 units got fire, heat or smoke damage, and 30 units are considered to be a total loss.

Meanwhile, HFD said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but cooking has been ruled out.

There is no indication that the fire was intentionally set, officials said.

Killed in the fire were Britt Reller, his mother 87-year-old Melba Dilley, and 71-year-old Joann Kuwata. All three lived on the 26th floor, where the fire started.

Capt. David Jenkins, HFD spokesman, has said the blaze was one of the biggest, most complex fires he has ever seen.

"I can honestly say ... this is one of the largest fires that the Honolulu fire department responded to and one of the most destructive fires in Honolulu's recent history," Jenkins said.

The blaze has prompted calls to require mandatory fire sprinklers in older buildings.

A few days after the fire, Mayor Kirk Caldwell introduced a bill to require all residential buildings over 75 feet high to install sprinkler systems. Current law requires highrises built on Oahu after 1975 to have sprinklers.

The blaze started in unit 2602, and the condition of the unit is making it difficult to determine the exact cause of the blaze, officials have said.

The building's property management company, Associa Hawaii, has a $100,000 fund from which it is offering grants to residents who have been affected by the fire.

"To date we've been able to distribute more than $30,000 to residents directly affected by the fire...and on hand right now in this office is another $50,000," said Andrew Fortin, Associa Hawaii's Senior Vice President of External Affairs.

Fortin said residents have until August 5th to apply for these grants and applications can be found at the Marco Polo bulletin board.

Fortin said more donations and support for the residents have been pouring in. For example, he said Bloomingdale's will be giving out mini hand massages and gifts to the residents from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. this Friday and Saturday in the Marco Polo lobby.

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