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Fire investigators find origin of Marco Polo blaze

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The Marco Polo building as seen on Saturday after a fire gutted several of the top floors of the residential complex on Friday. Honolulu fire investigators have determined the origin of the fatal high-rise fire occurred in a separate unit from two units where three residents died Friday.

The Marco Polo fatal high-rise fire did not begin in the condominium units of the three people who died in the Friday five-alarm blaze, Honolulu fire investigators have determined.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said today that the fire originated in unit 2602 on the mauka side of the building. The cause of the fire and the exact location of where the blaze started within the unit are still under investigation.

Britt Reller, 54, an in-flight manager for Hawaiian Airlines, and his mother, Jean Dilley, 87, were two of three victims in the fire. Both resided in unit 2613, on the makai side of the building and “nearby, across the hall” from unit 2602, Jenkins said.

Pearl City Community Church pastor Phil Reller has said he received a call Friday from Hawaiian Airlines, that smoke was filling his younger brother’s condominium and that he had crawled under the bed. He did not hear from his brother again.

Their mother lived with Britt in the Marco Polo unit.

The third fire victim, Joann Kuwata, 71, a retired dental assistant, lived in unit 2615, on the makai side of the building and near unit 2602, according to Jenkins.

Marco Polo, a 36-story building at 2333 Kapiolani Blvd. was built in 1971, four years before installation of fire-sprinkler systems were mandated in high-rises on Oahu.

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