HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Thick smoke was seen billowing Sunday morning from a large fire at a building in McCully, near UH Manoa’s lower campus.
Flames ripped through the two-story building located along Varsity Circle, one block from UH’s Les Murakami Stadium around 10:50 a.m.
HFD rushed to the two-alarm blaze with 36 people and began to attack the flames, bringing worried neighbors out of their homes.
“This morning (I) smelled burning plastic and I got curious and looked outside and the street was filled with smoke so I knew something was going on, something was burning,” said Witness Eli Marcotte.
The fire engulfed the second floor of the building, and HFD says the structure began to collapse around 11:10 a.m.
“Some people heard a first boom and then the fire broke out. I heard a few bangs but I think it was because of the glass breaking and things inside going ‘pow’ added Marcotte.
The upper apartments were completely emptied while the lower apartments suffered water damage. When last checked, officials also said they were looking for pet dogs that had not been found.
Gusts of wind fanned the fire, but HFD was able to contain it to the initial building.
“Wind and weather are always a factor in the movement and control of fire. So in this case the fire started downwind and moved downwind,” said HFD Captain Randall Lindsey.
The fire was brought under control shortly before 11:30 a.m. and completely extinguished just after noon.
Two women who lived next door, ages 57 and 59, were treated for smoke inhalation, according to EMS. One of them was taken to hospital in serious condition.
Neighbors say residents of the unit were not home when the fire broke out. They are aided by the American Red Cross as investigators work to determine a cause.
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