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Fire hits Kauai resort already devastated by flooding

  • COURTESY KAUAI COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

    Firefighters arrived Friday night to find a building at Hanalei Colony Resort fully engulfed in flames.

  • COURTESY KAUAI COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

    The aftermath of the fire that destroyed a building at Hanalei Colony Resort.

Hanalei Colony Resort has seen fire and rain in recent months.

First there was record rainfall, flooding and landslides in mid-April that caused extensive damage to the beachfront resort and throughout Kauai’s north shore. The fire came Friday night, destroying a single-story building on the property.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and no damage estimate was available, Kauai County spokeswoman Kim Tamaoka said. One building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, and the blaze was brought under control by 9:30 p.m.

It’s unclear how many units were destroyed, but it appears the building was gutted.

Resort officials could not be contacted to comment Saturday.

Hanalei Colony was closed after the April flooding, and its website says all reservations for arrivals through Oct. 31 have been canceled. “We estimate wide-ranging restoration efforts will be ongoing at the resort through October,” the website says.

“We will welcome back guests as soon as the designated disaster areas and roads are deemed safe for normal travel by the county.”

The state Department of Transportation reported that 15 landslides covered Kuhio Highway, the main thoroughfare to the resort and surrounding communities of Lumahai, Wainiha and Haena. Traffic continues to be restricted as work continues on two primary road sites.

The biggest job involves reconstruction of a major embankment on the highway. Other work to be done includes re-installing guardrails, signage and striping.

DOT officials told a Haena community meeting Friday that they are targeting the end of October for a full reopening of the highway.

The area was declared a federal, state and county disaster area. Because the mayor extended an emergency proclamation through October, the resort and other transient vacation accommodations are prohibited from operating during recovery efforts.

“The Wainiha-Haena community has faced one challenge after another in the past few months, especially General Manager Laura Richards and her team at the Hanalei Colony Resort,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in a written statement Saturday.

“The Colony has been providing flood support since day one, including housing teams of first responders and volunteers. And now they need our support. Our hearts are with them all.”

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