Marco Polo fire caused more than $100 million in damage
  • Monday, November 12, 2018
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Marco Polo fire caused more than $100 million in damage

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Firefighters battle the blaze from the makai side of the Marco Polo condominium at 2333 Kapiolani Blvd. Three people were killed in the July 14 fire.

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Damage from the July 14 high-rise fire at the Marco Polo condominium project has been estimated to exceed $100 million in one of the most destructive fires in Honolulu’s recent history, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said today.

Three people died and five others were seriously injured in the seven-alarm fire at the 36-story building at 2333 Kapiolani Boulevard.

More than 80 units were damaged, and of those, more than 30 were destroyed, HFD Capt. David Jenkins said in a statement. Another 130 units sustained water damage.

In total, some 200 of the 568 units, or more than a third of the apartments at Marco Polo, sustained damage or were destroyed. The 26th through 28th floors sustained the brunt of the damage.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire investigators are working with government and private investigators and have determined the fire started in a unit on the 26th floor, Jenkins said.

Cooking has been ruled out as a cause and there is no indication that the fire was intentionally set, he said.

The Marco Polo was built in 1971, four years before the city mandated installation of sprinkler systems in new high-rises. It would have cost $4.5 million to install a sprinkler system in the building in 2013, according to an engineering report commissioned after another fire at the building.

More than 120 firefighters responded to the conflagration, which trapped occupants who had to be escorted to safety by emergency responders. Firefighters brought the fire under control more than four hours after it started.

The three who died in the fire — Britt Reller, 54, and his mother, Jean Dilley, 87, and Joann Kuwata, 71 — lived on the 26th floor across the hall from where the fire started.

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