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Gas restored, but repairs continue after Kapahulu fire

  • GOAKAMAKI.ORG
    Lanes remained closed on Kapahulu Avenue as crews continued repairs on a ruptured gas line and overhead phone lines Wednesday morning.
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Hawaii Gas crews worked through the night to restore service to the five homes and two business on Kapahulu Avenue that have been without service since a road resurfacing company cut into a four-inch line, causing a spectacular fire that burned for nearly six hours and could be seen for miles.

Hawaii Gas spokesman Alan Tang, said service was restored at 5:30 a.m.

He said the gas company is “still working on the incident investigation and damage assessment” and are unable to say how long it will take to replace the natural gas line.

Initial damage estimates are $700,000, mainly for the burned milling machine that removes old asphalt from the road.

Mauka-bound lanes of Kapahulu Avenue were closed and traffic was being diverted around the repair work at Date Street and Kapahulu Avenue Wednesday morning as crews continued fixing the road, gas pipe and telephone lines. But Wednesday night, police reported the lanes were reopened.

The fire was reported at 9:24 p.m. Monday after an asphalt milling machine operated by Road Builders struck a gas line near the Date Street intersection, sparking a blaze. The company is repaving Kapahulu Avenue under a city contract.

The 4-inch gas steel pipe, installed in 1977, was just 7 to 8 inches below the surface of the road. Most gas lines are about  three feet below the road. 

Paramedics took two workers to the hospital, one in serious condition. A worker who fell from the milling equipment was released, while the other worker, who sustained burns, remains in the hospital.

Firefighters extinguished the fire at 3:14 a.m. Tuesday after gas company workers cut off the gas to the area.

Workers also contained runoff from the fire that contained diesel fuel, oil and asphalt Tuesday and worked to clean up the spill.

The Fire Department notified the state Department of Health’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and the Coast Guard of the potential for 200 gallons of diesel fuel, 80 gallons of hydraulic oil and an undetermined amount of asphalt being released from the milling machine going down the storm drain that leads to the Ala Wai Canal.

Oil sheens were seen on the surface of the Ala Wai Canal and boons and pads were placed at the mouth of the Ala Wai Harbor.

The Department of Health said different agencies checked the area, but didn’t find any impact on wildlife. They’ll continue to monitor the area for the next few days.

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