By Jeff King
First Responders have been faced with dozens of serious incidents since Saturday on – and off – Maui, on Moloka’i…even off the Big Island.
Saturday night at 7:15 p.m., a 44 year-old man with no local address died after he was struck by a van while trying to cross Hana Highway near Dairy Road. He was not in a marked crosswalk when the van struck him. He was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition where he later died.
The driver and a passenger in the van were not injured and were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. The pedestrian’s name is being withheld until he can be identified and family notified. This is Maui’s 18th fatal traffic accident this year compared with 17 at this time last year.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon Maui fire crews responded to two small fires in the Haiku area of East Maui. Paia firefighters first responded to a brush fire on Haiku Road at 12:56 p.m. They arrived at 1:09 to find a 125 ft. x 25 ft. area of cane grass burning between East Kuiaha and West Kuiaha Road. Makawao firefighters and a water tanker out of Kahului assisted in bringing it under control at 1:46 and called it extinguished at 2:07 p.m.
Fortunately, the brush was green from all the recent rains, so the fire was slow to spread. The fire’s cause was undetermined. There were no injuries and no structures were threatened.
At 2:14 p.m., as Paia firefighters were returning to their station, they noticed black smoke coming from the Hahana Road area and investigated. They arrived at 2:18 p.m. to find a 25 ft. x 50 ft. area of trash, grass and heavy logs burning on Hahana Road, about a quarter-mile makai of Hana Highway. The area that burned has been a known dumping ground for discarded household trash.
Cause of the second fire was also undetermined. There were no injuries and no structures were threatened. Tanker 10 from Kahului was called back to assist Paia firefighters on the Hahana Road fire.
But on Moloka’i – there were injuries and structural damage. Fire crews on Molokai responded to a single-story residential structure fire on Kamiloloa Place in Kaunakakai Saturday night. Firefighters got the call at 8:49 p.m. and upon arrival three minutes later, reported defensive fire conditions, indicating a structure fully engulfed in flames.
It was later discovered to be a detached garage at the front of the property. Three people were in the home to the rear of the property at the time of the fire. Two people were taken to Molokai General Hospital.
Crews from Kaunakakai, Hoolehua, and Pukoo responded to the fire and mop up operations.
Tragedy continued into Sunday. At 3:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon, firefighters were called to an unresponsive male pulled from the ocean at a South Maui beach in Wailea. Firefighters from Wailea arrived at Polo Beach at 3:53 p.m. and found Kea Lani Resort staff on the beach performing CPR on the male victim.