An 83-year-old man is in critical condition after evacuating from his Rainbow Place condominium as Honolulu firefighters battled a blaze this morning on the 21st floor.
Honolulu firefighters contained a three-alarm building fire in Moiliili shortly after 10 a.m. after evacuating residents to Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School nearby. The man collapsed around 11 a.m. after he evacuated the building and watched the blaze from the Moiliili Japanese Cemetary across the street.
Honolulu paramedics administered life-saving treatment to the man who did not come in contact with smoke or fire while he was in the building, an EMS report said.
Shortly after 10 a.m., flames and thick smoke could be seen from miles away as firefighters worked to attack the blaze on the 21st floor of the condominium located at 2754 Kuilei St.
The Honolulu Fire Department sent 16 units and 58 personnel with the first unit arriving at 10:07 a.m.
Residents and neighbors watched in horror from across the street as the upper-floor apartment engulfed in flames. Some residents broke out in tears.
Resident Shirley Santos said she heard a loud boom that vibrated the building, including her unit on the 21st floor.
“Black smoke came out toward the living room, which is the tail end where the majority of the fire was earlier,” she said.
Santos immediately alerted her neighbors across and down the hall of her floor.
“It’s really bad,” she said.
Residents Cullen and Rachel Arroyo evacuated their unit on the 9th floor, located on the same mauka-ewa side of the building where the fire broke out. Rachel Arroyo went to the balcony and looked up to see smoke and flame bursting from 12 floors above her unit.
“Okay, we gotta get out,” she told her husband.
The married couple gathered their belongings and escaped to the elementary school nearby. “We’re just praying for the people up there,” Cullen Arroyo said. “I think the alarm went off on time for everybody to get out.”
Rainbow Place Board President Angela Keen told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that she was sleeping when the alarm sounded.
“I was up late [last night] and slept in and my dog alerted me,” Keen said. “And I called my husband to see if he was in the living room…and he’s working out so he said, ‘I can smell smoke.’”
As soon as Keen noticed debris falling from the 21st floor, she immediately grabbed her dog and rushed out of the building.
Honolulu police closed the street to motorists. It reopened shortly before 3 p.m.
Rainbow Place is located less than a mile away from the Marco Polo condominium, which sustained more than $100 million in damage from a blaze that killed four people and injured multiple people on July 14, 2017. Like the Marco Polo condominium, Rainbow Place does not have fire sprinklers in the 90-unit building built in 1976.
The fire was first reported at 10:02 a.m. and extinguished at 10:58 a.m., according to radio communications.
Tyne Phillips, Cindy Ellen Russell, Ed Lynch and Diane S. W. Lee contributed to this story.