POSTED: 9:57 a.m. HST, Jun 3, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 3:47 p.m. HST, Jun 3, 2011
A firefighter is hospitalized in "stable" condition this morning after he was injured trying to extinguish a garage fire near Laniakea Beach, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said injured firefighter Manavara Kamaki Worthington, 40, was “shocked by electricty” while fighting the garage fire. He has been with the department for 10 years and is assigned Engine Company 11 at Sunset Beach. He is expected to remain hospitalized for several days. Seelig said.
Jeff Wagner, who lives at 61-673 Pohaku Loa Place, said he believes a llightning strike on a transformer near a neighbor's home may have started the fire.
"There was a an intensive flash," said Wagner describing the incident shortly after it occurred at 8 this morning.
He said that one of Hawaiian Electric Co.'s high power lines fell setting a tree and bushes below it on fire.
"The line arched sending more sparks and flames into the air. The garage then caught on fire.
"There were firefighters in the garage. There were then a lot of sparks, a huge orange ball of an electrical fire."
Wagner said he watched as firefighters carried the injured man out of the garage.
Seelig said a fire company from the Sunset Beach station responded at 8 this morning to several calls of "a fire burning at the base of a utility pole" at 61-555 Pohaku Loa Place.
Seelig said when firefighters arrived they found a downed energized power line that was "snapping and sparking."
Fifteen minutes later firefighters found smoke coming from the garage and attempted to extinguish the fire. That was when the firefighter was injured.
Seelig said the fire was confined to the garage. Damage was estimated at $210,000, with structure valued at $180,000 and another $30,000 to the contents of the garage which included a car and a motor bike.
A cottage and the main house on the beach were not damaged.
Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesman, said 800 customers in the area were without power because “the circuit had to be de-energized” to ensure the safety of the firefighters.
Police also closed Kamehameha Highway in both directions as firefighters worked on the fire.