Three floors of the 36-story Honolulu-based tower caught fire Friday, killing three
A blaze tore through three floors of the 36-story tower, taking firefighters four hours to control and eventually extinguish the fire.
Smoke billowed over the city for hours afterwards. This fire marks the second tower-fire since the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London.
Three people perished during the blaze on the 26th floor, where the fire originated. A mother and her adult son were among the three people who died.
Twelve other people were injured. Over 100 firefighters were enlisted to fight the blaze and search individual apartments to evacuate anyone who was trapped.
Resident of the building Ron Chiarottino said: “I looked down I could see billowing smoke coming up. I heard three women’s voices screaming, pleading, moaning, ‘Please help me, please’ continuous screaming for five or ten minutes, and then I didn’t hear anymore.”
Building found to have no sprinkler system
The tower was constructed in 1971 and was discovered to have no sprinkler system – they were not mandatory for high-rise buildings at the time.
Honolulu Fire Chief Manual Neves said of the blaze: “Without a doubt if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin . . . the unit [where] the fire started.”
Injured residents and one injured firefighter were taken to the hospital, and volunteers looked after residents of the building at surrounding parks.
Resident Karen Hastings stated: “We were all trying to help as much as we could . . . but there was a fire and you could see it spreading.”
The Grenfell Tower fire in London was so deadly for precisely the same reason: built in the 1970s and lacking a sprinkler system.