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Damage in Kauai building fire estimated at $1.27M


A blaze that destroyed the Hanamaulu Trading Co. on Kauai Friday afternoon is now estimated to have done $1.2 million in damage to the building and its contents, and an additional $70,000 in damage to four adjacent buildings, Kauai County officials reported today.

The cause is still under investigation.

Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman said the fire could have easily done more damage than it did.

“Our firefighters did a tremendous job of containing the fire,” he said in a news release. “With the closeness of the adjacent structures and the high winds, the fire could have easily advanced.”

Officials said the two-story wooden structure was built along Kuhio Highway in the 1890s. At the time of the fire it was divided into retail and office spaces, including the Hanamaulu Post Office, a church, beauty salon and barber shop, clothing and variety stores, and an antique shop. Two apartments were located on the second floor.

None of the buildings’ occupants reported injuries, but officials said two police officers inhaled smoke. Medics treated and released both officers at the scene. 

The Hanamaulu Trading Co. building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived following the 3:19 p.m. alarm. The blaze was called under control at 4:28 p.m., but crews remained on scene until it was extinguished.

Officials said personnel from all but three fire stations on the island responded to the scene, and a public works crew, a private contractor and Red Cross volunteers also provided assistance.

Police closed Kuhio Highway between Hanamaulu Road and Laulima Street, and traffic was diverted through a nearby residential area. The highway reopened around 10 p.m.

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