The city Department of Enterprise Services announced today that renters of the city-owned Waikiki surfboard locker facility that was destroyed in a fire Feb. 27 will receive refunds and will get first dibs when the facility is reopened on May 1.
But in notices emailed to renters today, the city said it will not pay compensation for boards lost in the fire because it is not responsible for any damage to them and the damage was not caused by any action on the part of the city. Both the Honolulu fire and police departments have concluded the fire was intentionally set. A criminal arson investigation is ongoing.
City officials said they don’t know exactly how many surfboards were destroyed but estimated that it was about 525 based on the number of lockers rented out at the time of the fire. The spaces were renting for between $15 and $40 a month depending on a renter’s age. The rentals netted the city about $154,665 last fiscal year, the city said.
Additionally, five city lifeguard surfboards with a total estimated value of $6,000 were destroyed.
Renters of the lockers will be issued refunds for the remainder of their payment period, the city said. The checks will be mailed by the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services within about 30 days. Additionally, those renters with a compliant 2020 rental agreement who were affected by the fire will have a chance to store surboards in their assigned lockers through the end of 2020 for free when they are restored in the coming weeks.
Renters have and will continue to secure their lockers with their own locks.
The Department of Enterprise Services, which maintains the lockers, provided video footage to the police and fire departments but a suspect has not yet been identified. Video footage can be viewed at honolulucrimestoppers.org under the “Cases” drop menu. Those with information about the incident are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 808-955-8300.
The city did not have an immediate cost estimate for what’s being described as a “refurbishing” of the storage locker facility. City spokeswoman Brandi Higa said Enterprise Services is still completing an assessment of the structure. After making sure the steel racks that remain are structurally sound, the city will need to give the racks a thorough cleaning to remove any remaining toxic materials left by the fire and then painted.
Enterprise Services estimated the refunds will cost taxpayers about $65,536, Higa said.
For more information, call 808-768-5400 or email email@example.com.