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Landowner responsible for falling rocks, city says

    Three boulders cause an estimated $100,000 damage to a Palolo home and nearly strike a young boy.
    Two out of three boulders that fell from a ridge Friday hit a home in Palolo. Damage was visible yesterday at the far left and far right of the home.

Hawaii State Civil Defense and Oahu Civil Defense are working with a private landowner in Palolo to ensure that there isn’t a repeat of Friday afternoon’s incident in which three massive boulders tumbled downhill, causing $100,000 in damage to a house and nearly injuring a young boy.

Personnel from the agencies are scheduled to visit the ridge from which the rocks fell to gauge what needs to be done to prevent future incidents.

Peter Hirai, deputy director of the city Department of Emergency Management, said the rocks originated on private property and that the landowner is now responsible for securing the area and settling with the owner of the damaged house.

"We’re trying to get the owners together and work out a time frame for doing what needs to be done," Hirai said.

The incident occurred at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. Two boulders smashed into a home on the 10th Avenue side of the valley. One went through a wall and came to rest in a bedroom. The other plowed through a bathroom, narrowly missing the boy.

The third boulder, estimated to be the size of a car, hit a shed but stopped shy of a neighboring house.

"It’s kind of scary because it’s unpredictable," said Utako Shimada, who has lived on an adjoining property for more than 50 years. "We can’t sell our house and move, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next."

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