University of Hawaii Update: Fire Damage to Lower Campus Not As Severe As First Reported

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Fire on the University's lower campus forced smoke into nearby residences and drivers on the H-1 freeway

The financial office on the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s lower campus caught fire yesterday, causing an estimated $600,000 in damage, forcing the evacuation of several apartment complexes in the area, and slowing traffic to a near stop on the H-1 Freeway as drivers tried to navigate through the thick smoke.

Today the University’s external relations office issued more information on the fire, which started Sunday morning and flared up again in the afternoon.


Here is the latest report:

We want to clarify the status of fiscal activities and records housed in the portable building on the UH Manoa lower campus destroyed by fire yesterday and correct some misinformation reported in the news media.

1. Payroll processing of paper checks and associated documents: All payroll information resides on our main frame computer system and is undamaged. Payroll will continue uninterrupted.

2. Student loans: All student loan information is also stored electronically and resides with our loan collection service off-site. This information is undamaged and student loan processes will continue uninterrupted.

3. Student loan paperwork: Original documents, such as promissory notes associated with original student loans, were stored on paper in a fireproof cabinet, along with other historical documentation. We will not know status until fire officials bring materials, furniture and other items out so staff can sort through and see what is damaged and what is not. But these damaged documents will not affect the timely payments, collections, and other transactions associated with student loans.

4. Other paper functions such as pre-audit processing of documents including internal travel reimbursements, vendor payments, etc., were carried out in this building, but the original requests and corresponding documentation are all stored elsewhere at their points of origin on servers or on paper, and can be reconstructed. This will take time but the information itself is secure and exists elsewhere in the system or outside the system.

The bottom line is that the damage and loss of documents or information is not nearly as severe as has been reported. We are grateful for that and grateful that no one was injured in this fire. We are waiting for the fire department to completely contain and extinguish the fire so they can enter the building and bring out materials for UH staff to assess, sort, and retrieve whatever can be salvaged.

We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.





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