The Memorial Day holiday weekend saw cooking fires along beaches and in parks across the State. But here on Maui, there were at least two fires more than anyone likely wanted.
The first flared up Saturday evening in Kahakuloa. The rapidly building fire caused $550,000 in damages to the one-story residential structure, and $5,000 to its contents. The home, located near mile marker 8 on the mauka side of Kahekili Highway, was almost entirely destroyed and vacant at the time.
At 5:38 p.m. Saturday, three fire companies, three water tankers and a battalion chief from Wailuku, Kahului, and Wailea responded to the blaze. Wailuku firefighters arrived at 5:58 p.m. and reported defensive fire conditions, indicating that a vast majority of the home was on fire. The fire was brought under control by around 6:40 p.m. and extinguished at 11:30 p.m.
A narrow driveway and overgrown foliage made it difficult for crews fighting the fire to make access. The area has no fire hydrants, so the fire department helicopter was brought in to provide water drops on the home and in the event flames spread to nearby brush. Their quick work saved nearby homes and property from sustaining any damage. Fire investigators were unable to determine the fire’s cause.
The second unwelcome fire happened very early Monday – 12:19 a.m., to be precise – when Maui Fire Department crews responded to reports of flames coming from a structure on Awalau Road, in the Haiku area of East Maui. Makawao firefighters arrived at 12:36 a.m and found residents using garden hoses to control flames coming from a shed structure. Firefighters brought the fire under control within 3 minutes, and called it extinguished at 1:06 a.m.
Residents living at the front of the property were awakened by crackling and popping sounds coming from the fire. Damages to the 20 by 40 foot shed structure were estimated at $3,000 to structure and $7,000 to contents. The shed housed a workshop for making and repairing horse-riding saddles. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.