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Roof collapses at Farrington High as storms pummel Oahu

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 05:22 p.m. HST, Nov 23, 2012

The roof of Farrington High School's auditorium collapsed this afternoon as thunderstorms lashed Oahu with heavy rain, flooding and hail.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., emergency dispatch transmissions reported that the roof of the Farrington High School auditorium in Kalihi had collapsed. Initial reports were that no one injured. Today was a holiday for public school students.

Farrington High principal Al Carganilla said “basically the whole roof over the seats collapsed.”

While the assessment was still underway, initial indications are the collapse of the 1,100-seat auditorium was rain-related since he received a call shortly after the rain stopped, Carganilla said.

“Thank goodness it was a holiday and nobody was in there,” he said, noting that a slam poetry contest expected to be attended by 100-200 people had been scheduled to take place there tonight.

“In a few hours, there could have been kids in there,” he said.

About 20 to 25 members of Dancer's Delite, a dance group made up of students from Farrington High and Kalakaua Middle School, were just outside the auditorium preparing for tonight's Christmas Kalihi parade when they heard a loud roar that sounded like thunder, said Sherly Doropan, the instructor's assistant for the group.

It wasn't obvious what happened until someone opened the doors to the auditorium and people could see "the middle of the rooftop caved in," said Doropan, 20. 

A man who does lighting and sound for New Hope Church, which holds services in the auditorium on weekends, was in the sound and lighting booth when the incident occurred but was not hurt, Doropan said. "Lucky thing (the area over) the booth didn't come down."

Doropan, a Farrington graduate, said she was stunned that the storm could have caused the collapse since she's seen it withstand heavier rains over the years.

She said she and others will feel a deep sense of loss from the auditorium's destruction, noting that it is a focal point for assemblies and many other school activities. "That's a lot of memories for us," Doropan said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Oahu that expired at 5 p.m.; another for Maui County expired at 5:15 p.m.

The Oahu flood advisory covered Pearl City, Halawa and Waimalu. The Maui advisory covers Makena.

Hail was reportedly falling in Pearl City and H-1 westbound lanes near Waipahu were flooded, according to HPD.

"At 2:51 p.m. HST, radar showed heavy rain near Pearl City or about 9 miles northwest of Honolulu. The area of heavy rain was slowly moving east-southeast," the Oahu flood advisory said.

An earlier severe thunderstorm warning for Aiea, Salt Lake, Honolulu and Halawa expired at 3:15 p.m. The warning for Central Oahu areas had said that the public in the affected areas should prepare for damaging winds, lightning and quarter-sized hail, officials said.

Storms were also reported in the Mililani area.

The storms are part of an unsettled pattern bringing a variety of weather to the islands this weekend -- from snow on Mauna Kea to surf on north and west shores. Humid, southerly Kona winds are also bringing vog to Oahu and the possibility of thunderstorms.

Winds are from the south, bringing humid conditions, vog and the possibility of more thunderstorms developing in the afternoon because of the humid conditions.

Forecasters expect the cooling tradewinds could return sometime Saturday. 

But a weakening storm system is headed toward the islands and could arrive late Sunday, bringing some rain.

Snow fell on Mauna Kea Thursday and the road to the summit was closed this morning.

Forecasters say a small north swell has dropped below advisory levels. However, a reinforcement swell should arrive later tonight, bringing surf to north and west shores. Another moderate swell may come in on Monday.


Star-Advertiser reporter Craig Gima contributed to this report.

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allie wrote:
we need the rain!
on November 23,2012 | 02:14PM
thanks4reading wrote:
hail no
on November 23,2012 | 02:18PM
Kapcity wrote:
We need more rain
on November 23,2012 | 02:24PM
false wrote:
That is devastating. Farrington auditorium demolished by a rain storm means the termites had the best of it. How else can it be explained? Maintenance? Where was the maintenance on the roof? Lucky the storm came today to destroy it before the families were there with their students. Spirits looking out for us.
on November 23,2012 | 03:55PM
allie wrote:
agree..shocking! We had nothing up here in Manoa
on November 23,2012 | 04:34PM
honopic wrote:
Got more news for you, allie. WE have nothing wherever you are!
on November 23,2012 | 04:59PM
Canefire wrote:
Check if roof drains are clogged.
on November 23,2012 | 04:14PM
walaau808 wrote:
They aren't clogged anymore...
on November 23,2012 | 07:40PM
jrboi96786 wrote:
that's what happen when the governments keeps hesitating to fund our infrastructures. they only do something when something like this happen. farrington has been neglected for years. and no offense intended to farrington students and alumni but that school is the ugliest school you will probably see in this country. all around the state, instead of building an permanent building to facilitate a growing population of student, the government just keep buying those ugly portable rooms and jamming students in small rooms. next thing you know, it's a squatter like those in 3rd world countries. they be building new university, new schools and rails but they can't even maintain the existing one. the government are bunch of BS if you ask me. look at the stadium, that damn thing is showing age and they just keep painting over its rust and pretend that it will last another 10-20 more years but yet they keep spending $50-$100 million almost every year on that ugly thing. we are spending more money on its maintenance than making profit off of it. next thing you know we have spent enough that we could have build a new and better and probably would last longer.
on November 23,2012 | 04:18PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Thankfully it didn't happen when New Hope had the hall filled wall-to-wall with thousands of people. It would have been international news.
on November 23,2012 | 05:17PM
rayhawaii wrote:
6:30pm in Waianae and not a drop of rain yet and mostly sunny all day. Waianae the best side if you love sun and the best beaches.
on November 23,2012 | 05:29PM
copperwire9 wrote:
True-dat! What a gorgeous area.
on November 23,2012 | 07:57PM
Anonymous wrote:
Thank God no one got hurt !!!!!
on November 23,2012 | 06:48PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Thank God no one was in there and got hurt. It's another bang up job from the DOE, lack of maintenance and inspections no doubt. They should have recognized that the roof was unsafe before in collapsed, who is responsible for facilities maintenance? He should have his *ss handed to him with a pink slip!
on November 23,2012 | 07:15PM
Fred01 wrote:
"Storms pummel Oahu"? What a joke!
on November 23,2012 | 07:25PM
walaau808 wrote:
You're such a negative person. Bet you have a whole bunch of friends...
on November 23,2012 | 07:42PM
Shigeo wrote:
DOE and other city and state better look into maintenance of their facilities. Some people joke about it on this thread. You wouldn't joke If It was a school day, and Your kid was in there.
on November 23,2012 | 08:26PM
Nesmith wrote:
In general DOE facilities can use much improvement or better yet replacements. Our children need the best resources our state can afford so they can grow and develop into contributive individuals in our community. Farrington High not only needs a new auditorium but a new pool as well.
on November 23,2012 | 10:42PM
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