LAHAINA – As if yesterday wasn’t hot enough already, Maui Fire Department investigators still haven’t determined the causes of three fires that erupted within an hour of each other Thursday in West Maui.
At 10:50 a.m. fire crews responded to multiple reports of a brush fire on starting up on Kai Hele Ku Street in Launiupoko. A Lahaina ladder crew arrived at 11 a.m. and was able to contain a grass fire found burning on the north side of Kai Hele Ku Street, just below the roundabout at Haniu Street. The fire burned just over one acre of grass. The fire was called contained at 11:13 a.m., and extinguished at 12:10 p.m. The Lahaina ladder and water tanker, and a Napili engine responded to the incident. The cause was undetermined.
At 11:39 a.m., emergency dispatchers sent fire crews to the second reported brush fire at North Hakau Place in Lahaina. A Kihei engine company covering the Lahaina district while Lahaina crews were at the Launiupoko fire, arrived at 11:48 a.m. and initially thought they were facing a structure fire because of dark black smoke coming from the garage port. It was later discovered that there was a homeless encampment burning in the Kahoma stream gulch, to the rear of homes on North Hakau Place. That fire burned a 50 x 50 foot area of trash and a makeshift shelter built of wooden pallets and lumber.
At one point, it came within 20 feet of structures, melting plastic storage cans from the heat. No structure damage or injuries were reported. The fire was called contained at 12:56 p.m. and extinguished at 2:49 p.m. Two engine crews from Kihei and Napili responded to the incident. Fire investigators remained on scene determining the cause for several hours but no determination was made official.
At 11:52 a.m., fire crews were alerted to another fire in the Kahoma stream gulch on North Hopoe Place, burning two streets above the North Hakau fire. A Wailuku engine responded to that fire, along with the 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 fire using fire hoses connected straight to a fire hydrant, that he retrieved from a fire crew two streets below. The Air 1 helicopter also helped to control and contain the third fire on North Hopoe Place. The Lahaina engine arrived at 12:17 p.m. and called the fire contained by 12:36 p.m., extinguished at 2:28 p.m. That fire burned a 2,000 square-foot area of brush in the Kahoma stream gulch to the rear of North Hopoe Place. No structures were damaged and no injuries reported. Fire companies from Wailuku, Napili, Lahaina, Kahului, Kihei and Wailea responded to the incidents in West Maui. Fire investigators still haven’t determined the cause of the third fire.