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Fire caused $600,000 damage at historic Coco Palms

  • COURTESY MIKE LAURETAFirefighters from the Kalaheo station helped battle a fire Friday at Coco Palms Resort on Kauai. The blaze began around 11:30 a.m. and was under control by 2:15 p.m.
    COURTESY MIKE LAURETA
    Firefighters from the Kalaheo station helped battle a fire Friday at Coco Palms Resort on Kauai. The blaze began around 11:30 a.m. and was under control by 2:15 p.m.

Damage caused by a fire that occurred on the Fourth of July at the shuttered Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is estimated at $600,000.

The Kauai Fire Department determined the estimated damage but said the cause of fire remains under investigation.

The blaze started at about noon Friday, and was contained by firefighters about two hours later. It wasn’t extinguished, however, until 11:30 a.m. Sunday. 

Excavators were used to demolish the main lobby, which was destroyed. 

Bob Jasper, site manager, is continuing to hold tours at the site but has altered the route. "We can’t go through the breezeway anymore," he said, noting it was charred by the fire. "It’s just sad to see most parts of it gone."

Jasper posted a video on YouTube showing the destroyed areas. The video had been viewed more than 700 times by noon Tuesday. 

In it Jasper pans over the parts of the resort, pointing out that the lagoon terrace lounge and the lagoon dining room under the breezeway remained intact. A ceramic hand-painted, tiled mural in the terrace lounge went unscathed. 

Tyler Greene, principal of Coco Palms Hui LLC, said hotel rooms located above the lounge and restaurant were damaged, although the number of affected rooms hasn’t yet been determined. 

Coco Palms Hui wants to rebuild the hotel where the late Elvis Presley filmed the wedding scene for the 1961 movie "Blue Hawaii." Developers announced plans to open in 2017 under Hyatt Hotels’ management and is seeking $125 million in financing to acquire the land and renovate the hotel. 

The blaze burned off a giant conch shell that hung over the main breezeway. Jasper has said developers would re-create the conch shell based on its original design and place it in the original spot.

Though saddened by the damage caused by the fire, Jasper was optimistic developers will overcome the setback and succeed in plans to revitalize Coco Palms. Near the end of the YouTube video, Jasper estimated the fire only affected about a half-acre of the resort. "We got 40-plus acres back here untouched. Beautiful and it’s going to be even better. We’ve been down but let’s go. It’s still going to come back."

To view the YouTube video of the damage caused by the fire at Coco Palms, go to http://bit.ly/1n9sN1w.

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