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Small fires prompt evacuation at one hotel, but not at another

    Hotel guests at the Hawaii Prince Hotel talk in the lobby after a fire alarm sounded following a Dumpster fire in the basement of the building early this morning.
    Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire at the Ala Moana Hotel early this morning.

Honolulu firefighters responded to three small fires this morning — two at large hotels and another fire at the Straub Clinic and Hospital.

Hotel guests were evacuated from the Hawaii Prince Hotel after the alarm sounded at about 1:17 a.m. At the Ala Moana Hotel, a small kitchen fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. in the Royal Garden Chinese restaurant on the third floor, but firefighters determined because of the small fire and conditions an evacuation wasn’t needed, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig.

Another fire at Straub was contained to an electrical panel room and did not affect hospital operations when it was reported at about 5:53 a.m.

The fire at the Hawaii Prince Hotel burned in a dumpster in the basement and sent smoke through the parking garage, Seelig said. It took firefighters about 2 hours to ventilate the garage after the dumpster fire was extinguished.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, but hotel security told firefighters it does not appear the fire is suspicious.

The fire at the Ala Moana Hotel broke out at about 1:33 a.m. in the kitchen of the Royal Garden Chinese restaurant on the third floor. Workers used fire extinguishers to help put out the fire behind a gas cooking range. After firefighters extinguished the blaze and began ventilating the kitchen, the fire broke out again, leading firefighters to suspect a gas leak, Seelig said.

The hotel shut off the gas to the restaurant and firefighters opened the drywall behind the range to make sure the gas had dissipated and the fire had not spread.

A Royal Garden spokesman said the restaurant will be closed for at least two days to repair the gas line and get the necessary clearance from the fire department to reopen.

Damage is estimated at about $5,000.

The Ala Moana Hotel said in a statement that the fire was quickly extinguished, allowing guests to remain in their rooms. Hotel officials thanked the staff and Fire Department for their quick response.

Seelig said firefighters reviewed the hotel’s fire procedures because a general alarm wasn’t sounded and determined that the hotel followed the correct procedures.

The fire at Straub is blamed on a malfunctioning circuit breaker in an electrical panel. Seelig said the electrical panel is attached to the hospital’s air conditioning unit. Smoke filled a small room where the panel is located. But hospital maintenance workers were able to ventilate the room with a fan and replaced the circuit breaker.


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