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Cleanup after fire guts historic theater keeps road closed


    The Akebono Theater building in Pahoa as seen Monday night after a large fire destroyed much of the structure.

A part of Pahoa Village Road on the Big Island remains closed this morning as crews remove hazardous parts of buildings including a historic theater and restaurant that were gutted by a massive fire on Monday.

Police closed the roadway early Monday from Kaleo’s Bar & Grill to Kauhale Street after the fire destroyed three properties including the Akebono Theater and Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant.

It’s unknown at this time when Pahoa Village Road is expected to re-open.

Firefighters responded to the blaze shortly after midnight Monday and brought the fire under control at 2:45 a.m.

Fire crews are still at the scene today to extinguish any smoldering hot spots as county excavator crews dismantle hazardous parts of the building, said Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch.

There’s a large amount of wood that collapsed, he said. “The overhaul portion is a prolonged task.”

Damage was estimated at more than $1.8 million. Kusch said the cause of the remains under investigation.

Police are looking for any witnesses to help determine the cause. The blaze started at a vacant pawn shop at 15-2948 Pahoa Village Road.

Foul play is not suspected.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 935-3311 or Det. Wendal Carter at 961-2383.

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