A fire that apparently started in the flue of coffee-roasting machinery created smoke and flames at the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki this afternoon, temporarily shutting down the road between Ala Wai and Kapiolani boulevards.
According to the Honolulu Fire Department, the fire started in an exhaust system in the roof of the business at 1837 Kalakaua Ave., was under control at 1:37 p.m. and extinguished by 2:15 p.m. The road was reopened before 2:30 p.m. after being closed for less than an hour.
Repairs were being made to the coffee roaster this afternoon and a Honolulu Coffee Co. spokeswoman said the shop would reopen tomorrow. However, a strong stench of smoke lingered this afternoon inside the large shop, which includes a bakery.
Honolulu Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said eight fire units and 28 firefighters responded to the blaze, which sent heavy smoke into the Waikiki sky near the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The restaurant was empty when firefighters arrived and there were no injuries, Seguirant said.
“There was some kind of issue with the roaster. We don’t know where in the process that it went wrong. Normally, it will vent through the exhaust on the roof,” Seguirant said. “It took us awhile to make sure the fire was fully extinguished because we had to make sure that there wasn’t any fire next to any roof supports.”
He said flames and smoke could be seen exiting the vent on the roof. Damage was confined to the roaster and the vent duct, he said, adding that the cause of the fire and estimated damage have not yet been determined.