VIDEO: At least 3 dead in fire in Honolulu high-rise apartment building; no sprinkler system

 

HONOLULU (AP) — The fire department has confirmed that at least three people are dead in a fire in a Honolulu high-rise apartment building.

Fire Department Capt. David Jenkins says the number of fatalities could change. He says at least 12 people have needed medical help.

Paramedics have treated and transported three people to a hospital.

Jenkins says some residents are unaccounted for, but he can’t estimate how many. He says firefighters are going door-to-door.

Jenkins says Friday’s fire started on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo apartments. Several hours later, it has spread to the 28th floor and several units.

He says about 100 firefighters are battling the blaze.

The mayor or Honolulu said the high rise did not have a sprinkler system.

The 36-story building just outside the tourist mecca of Waikiki has 568 apartment units.

Smoke billows from a high-rise apartment building in Honolulu, Friday, July 14, 2017. Dozens of firefighters are battling the multiple-alarm fire at Marco Polo apartments that Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said started on the 26th floor and has spread to other units. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Smoke billows from a high-rise apartment building in Honolulu, Friday, July 14, 2017. Dozens of firefighters are battling the multiple-alarm fire at Marco Polo apartments that Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said started on the 26th floor and has spread to other units. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

Firefighters say there were reports of people trapped in their units in the burning building and some residents were unaccounted for.

The high-rise near the tourist mecca Waikiki has 568 apartments and four commercial spaces. Paramedics treated several injured people and at least four people were sent to the hospital. At least 12 people needed medical help, Jenkins said.

“We could see smoke billowing out already and the ground was scorched outside the stairwell,” said Patrick Williamson, who lives on the 32nd floor with his two sons, ages 10 and 12. They evacuated when they smelled smoke.

“I feel worried, concerned and a little angry,” he said. “For the fire to get this out of control is a little suspicious. Either the fire department was late in response or there was something going on in that unit. Either way one wonders what happened and I feel a little bit less secure living in the building.”

Troy Yasuda, who lives in a building across the street, was giving water to people who evacuated. “They were choking from the smoke,” he said, adding that people told him they evacuated through dark stairwells.

Police were yelling through megaphones for people still inside to come down, Yasuda said. He watched as people were carried out.

“It’s been an orderly evacuation,” said security guard Leonard Rosa, who was answering phones from the front lobby of the 31-story building near Waikiki. Police and firefighters were going door-to-door, he said.

Firefighters were checking on reports that there were people trapped in their units, Jenkins said.

Fourth-floor resident Aaron Dengler and his wife were helping their elderly neighbor get to an aid station the American Red Cross set up at a nearby park. “It doesn’t help to just stand and watch,” he said.

About two hours after the fire started it looked like flames were getting bigger and it looked like the blaze was reaching the 28th floor, Dengler said. “People are getting kind of nervous now,” he said. “It’s worrisome.”

One resident who declined to give his name said he made it to safety after climbing the stairs from the 29th floor. The man said there was so much smoke, he could hardly see.

Stay with KRON4 for updates on this breaking news story on-air, online, and on the KRON4 app.

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