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Malfunctioning dishwasher blamed for Waikiki fire

  • Dennis oda /

A malfunctioning dishwasher started a fire at a Waikiki apartment building on Cleghorn Street yesterday, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said today.

The fire in Unit 501 of the Waikiki Skytower apartments caused $100,000 damage to the apartment and its contents.

Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha said investigators determined that the fire started when the dishwasher in the apartment malfunctioned. A resident of that apartment had originally suspected that the fire might have been caused by a pizza left in a toaster oven.

Kealoha said the department’s Fire Prevention Bureau is also looking into complaints that the building’s fire alarm did not go off until 20 minutes after the fire was reported.

Firefighters were called at 12:31 p.m. and the first company arrived at the scene at 12:35 p.m., Kealoha said. The fire was under control at 12:51 p.m. and was declared extinguished at 1:02 p.m.

Firefighters had to break into the apartment and contained the fire to the kitchen. The Red Cross was called to help the two people who live in the apartment.

Resident manager Bernice Shea said the building’s water was turned off yesterday because of routine maintenance, but that did not affect firefighters, who used outside water sources. She said the 30-story building does not have sprinklers.

Shea said an alarm company inspected the alarm system this morning and found it working properly. The building’s smoke detectors are in the common areas, but smoke from the fire wafted out an open lanai door, she said. The building alarm went off when firefighters broke down the unit’s door and smoke went into the elevator landing. Had someone used one of the alarm boxes, the alarm would have gone off earlier. Shea said there haven’t been frequent false alarms as a resident said yesterday.


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