REPORT FROM KAUAI COUNTY – HANAMĀ’ULU – A two-story, wooden structure that was built in the 1890s along Kūhi‘ō Highway inHanama’ulu was destroyed by fire yesterday. Four smaller adjacent buildings sustained some damages.

The main building known as the Hanamā’ulu Trading Company was divided primarily into retail and office spaces including: the post office; a beauty salon; barber shop; clothing store; variety store; an antique store; and a church. Two apartments were located on the second story.

Damage to the structure and contents of the Hanamā’ulu Trading Company is estimated at $1.2 million. The loss to the four other buildings is estimated at a total of $70,000.

No injuries were reported by any of the buildings’ occupants. However, two police officers were treated for smoke inhalation by medics and released at the scene.

The fire began at about 3:19 p.m. yesterday afternoon and was under control by 4:28 p.m. It was deemed fully extinguished at approximately 10 p.m.

“Our fire fighters did a tremendous job of containing the fire. With the closeness of the adjacent structures and the high winds, the fire could have easily advanced,” said Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “I want to thank all of the fire department personnel for a job well done.”

Personnel from all the fire stations on the island except for Hanalei, Kōloa and Waimea responded to the scene along with the fire chief, Deputy Fire Chief John Blalock, Battalion Chief Sean Hosaka, Rescue 3, and the Fire Prevention Bureau. Medics, police officers, a Public Works crew, a private contractor, and Red Cross volunteers also provided assistance.

Officers closed Kūhi‘ō Highway between Hanamā’ulu Road and Laulima Street. Traffic was diverted through the residential area. The highway was reopened at approximately 10 p.m.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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