July 15 (UPI) — Three people died in a fire that started on the 26th floor of a 36-story apartment building in Honolulu, officials said.
The high-rise blaze began at 2:15 p.m. Friday in the 538-unit Marco Polo Apartments on Kapiolani Boulevard, the Honolulu Fire Department said. The fire spread to the 27th and 28th floors, KHON reported..
Two women and a man were found dead in two apartments, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said. Investigators are looking into the fire’s cause.
Emergency Medical Services treated 10 people at the scene, and took five people, including a firefighter treated for fire exhaustion, to the hospital. The firefighter was treated and released.
About 100 firefighters extinguished the fire and evacuated residents. The fire was brought under control at 7 p.m., Mayor Kirk Caldwell said on Twitter.
Marco Polo, which was built in 1971, does not have a sprinkler system.
“Without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin,” Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said.
Resident Joel Horiguchi told CNN the blaze leaped up two floors.
“I looked out my window, and noticed black smoke,” Horiguchi said. “I then opened my window to find the fire was a unit above us, just across. I also heard a neighbor above screaming for help.”
Firefighters staged their equipment on the 24th floor.
“Any high-rise fire would be very difficult, and it’s very difficult when you consider getting water to the fire, also with the amount of people in the building as well,” Jenkins said.
Hawaii’s worst high-rise fire happened in April 2000 at the Interstate Building and caused more than $1 million in damages but no fatalities.