Kaluakoi Brush Fire Burned 20 Acres

A brush fire burned 15 to 20 acres in Kaluakoi on Molokai’s west end last Friday night. Firefighters responded to a call around 6:30 p.m. to a roadside blaze about a mile down from Maunaloa Highway. While the fire did not cause damage to people or property, it came within a couple hundred feet of a home, according to Fire Capt. Travis Tancayo.

All Molokai units responded, with the assistance of two county tankers and one bulldozer. The fire was contained by about 9:30 p.m., according to Fire Capt. Roger Agdeppa, though firefighters stayed until early Saturday morning to ensure blazes were fully extinguished.

Fire Inspector Rick Schonely said the cause of the fire is undetermined but suspicious, and an investigation is ongoing. Schonely reminded the public that if apprehended, whoever may be responsible for this and other recent fires will be held liable for any damage to property or people.

“We continue to ask for help in reporting fires” and any suspicious activity, said Tancayo.

Fire officials have noted that a fire burned in the same location on Kaluakoi Road about three years ago, also threatening a home, Tancayo said.

“We’re very fortunate that our resources could stop it,” he said.

Following the fire, an oncoming vehicle swerved into the fire department’s tanker truck on its way back to the Kaunakakai station at about 1:30 a.m., according to Tancayo.

 “Luckily our driver [firefighter Sean Simon] was alert and skillfully avoided a head-on collision,” he said. He added no one involved was seriously injured, but the tanker suffered damage from the impact.

Tancayo said as of Sunday, they do not know the extent of damages to the tanker or how long repairs may take. The vehicle, which holds 2500 gallons of water, was responsible for extinguishing about 75 percent of Friday’s fire, according to Tancayo. With the vehicle temporarily down for repairs, the “island [is] in jeopardy” from potential fires.

The police would not comment on the incident as an investigation of the accident is ongoing.


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