A complaint about noxious gas at a Kakaako business Sunday turned up no evidence of hazardous materials but plenty of law enforcement interest over possible illegal gambling on the premises.
Hawaii Fire Department hazardous materials specialists were called to 1023 Kawaiahao St. shortly before noon in response to three people complaining of throat discomfort due to an unidentified irritant in the air. Ten people were evacuated from nearby businesses and apartments.
But while air tests came did not detect anything out of the ordinary in the air, first responders did recognize what appeared to be electronic gambling equipment and alerted Honolulu police.
Michael De Carlo, owner of Door to Door Auto Detailing, one of four business on the property, said the room was in a space he recently subleased to man claiming to run a telemarketing business.
“They were totally separate from my business,” De Carlo said. “The guy had blocked himself off so I had no access to the area. Whatever happened there was totally on their end.”
De Carlo said he negotiated the deal last week but emphasized that a draft of the lease was given to the man but not yet returned. The man, whom De Carlo did not identify, put down a deposit but had not yet made a rent payment.
De Carlo said he became suspicious of his tenant when he received comments from neighboring business owners that there was unusual activity around the space at night.
“I called the guy about it but he basically hung up on me,” De Carlo said.
“I made a mistake,” he said. “The economy was bad and an opportunity presented itself to rent out this excess space. I did what any small business owner would do.”
Police confiscated the machines late Sunday afternoon.