Maui News

Firefighters Battle 3 West Maui Brush Fires

July 30, 2015, 5:09 PM HST
* Updated July 30, 5:11 PM
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Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Maui fire crews responded to three separate brush fires in West Maui within the span of an hour on Thursday, July 30, 2015, fire officials said.

The first fire burned just over an acre of grass, and was reported at 10:50 a.m. off of Kai Hele Kū Street in Launiupoko. A ladder crew from Lahaina arrived on scene at around 11 a.m, and was able to contain the grass fire to the north side of Kai Hele Kū Street, just below the Haniu Street roundabout.  The fire was contained at 11:13 a.m., and extinguished at 12:10 p.m. In addition to the ladder crew, a water tanker from Lahaina and an engine crew from Nāpili responded to the fire.  The cause was undetermined.

A second fire was reported at 11:39 a.m. at North Hakau Place in Lahaina.  A Kīhei engine company covering the Lahaina district arrived on scene at 11:48 a.m.  Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto said crews initially thought a structure was burning because of dark black smoke coming from a garage port; but firefighters later discovered that there was a homeless encampment burning in the Kahoma Stream gulch, to the rear of homes on North Hakau Place.  The fire burned a 50 x 50 foot area of trash and a makeshift shelter built of wooden pallets and lumber. At one point, Taomoto said, it came within 20 feet of structures, melting plastic storage cans from the heat. The fire was contained at 12:56 p.m. and extinguished at 2:49 p.m. Two engine crews from Kīhei and Nāpili responded to the incident. Fire investigators are still on scene determining the cause.

A third fire was reported at 11:52 a.m., also in the Kahoma Stream gulch on North Hopoe Place.  Fire officials say the incident was located two streets above the North Hakau Place fire to the rear of North Hopoe Place and burned a 2,000 square foot area of brush in the Kahoma Stream gulch.  A Wailuku engine responded to the scene, along with a Lahaina engine company that was pulled out of a training class they were attending in Kahului.  Before a fire engine could arrive, an off-duty firefighter was able to control the blaze using fire hoses connected straight to a fire hydrant, that he retrieved from a fire crew at the North Hakau Place incident nearby. The department’s Air 1 helicopter also helped to control and contain the third fire on North Hopoe Place, according to department reports. The Lahaina engine arrived at 12:17 p.m. and called the fire contained by 12:36 p.m. and extinguished at 2:28 p.m. Fire investigators are still on scene determining the cause of the third fire.

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Fire companies from Wailuku, Nāpili, Lahaina, Kahului, Kīhei and Wailea responded to the incidents in West Maui.

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