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One person hurt after wind knocks siding off downtown building

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One person was hurt and Bethel Street was briefly closed this morning after gusty winds blew off pieces of stucco from the side of a downtown office building.

Firefighters were summoned at 8:30 a.m. to the Island Insurance Center building at 1022 Bethel St., near the Macy’s department store.

Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said one worker was struck by falling debris and made his own way to a hospital or a doctor’s office. Seelig did not know the person’s condition.

No workers were evacuated from the building and the insurance company’s office remained open.

Seelig said stucco from the building fell from the building’s diamond head-makai corner, perhaps pushed by the wind, but that the debris didn’t damage any property. He said firefighters removed debris from the street “to minimize the hazard.” Island Insurance has hired a contractor to correct the problem.

Albert Manners said he had just parked on Bethel Street and heard the sound of debris falling from the mauka side of the Island Insurance Center at 1022 Betel St.

“I seen it falling,” Manners said. “It might have been blowing from all the wind.”

Manners then saw a man with a torn shirt rubbing his chest and shoulders, saying he had been hit by the falling debris. Manners sympathized with the man and noted how close he was, saying, “I guess it’s just my lucky day.”

Employees from Island Insurance stowed the debris in a plastic garbage bag and coned the area off for authorities. 

Hawaii is under a high wind advisory until tomorrow morning, with forecasters predicting gusts as high as 55 mph.

On Kumu Place in Manoa this morning, a 15-by-30-foot section of a roof was peeled back by the winds but did not detach from the home. Seelig said firefighters were able to secure the damaged roof.

High winds knocked down a utility pole in Kaimuki yesterday afternoon, cutting off electricity to about 900 Hawaiian Electric Co. customers for 90 minutes.

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