October 18, 2017

At least 3 dead at Marco Polo fire

15 July 2017, 08:39 | Taylor George

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HONOLULU ― Firefighters in Hawaii were battling a five-alarm fire late Friday afternoon that broke out on the 26th floor of a high-rise apartment building. Two people have reportedly been hospitalized in serious condition. "The hallway was starting to fill with smoke and you could see smoke coming from the elevator shafts, seeping into the 25th floor", Horiguchi explained. It is next to the Ala Wai Canal and contains more than 560 residential units.

The Marco Polo is a large residential and commercial building with 36 stories in the main tower and a seven-story parking garage.

"It's very hard, even with the equipment that we have on - to make our way to the floor of the fire", Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said.

The fire began on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo high rise building at about 2:15 p.m., spreading to floors above and below, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper said.

Local firefighters and police were going door-to-door in search of residents. Emergency medical technicians and two fire chiefs have been evaluating patients for smoke inhalation, and a triage center has been established in the building, AP reported.

"Without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment the fire would be contained to the unit of origin", Neves said. A total of 12 people needed medical help, he said. Leonard Rosa, a security officer in the building, said it will be "hours" before the fire is under control.

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He was able to exit the building from another fire escape, "with many neighbors exiting as well", Horiguchi said.

He says paramedics are treating several injured people.

One resident who declined to give his name says he took the stairs from the 29th floor after smelling fire and seeing the blaze below from his balcony.

"I looked out my window and noticed black smoke", Horiguchi said.

Troy Yasuda, who lives in a building across the street, told The Associated Press he was giving water to people who evacuated.

As he watched the flames spread, he said: "People are getting kind of nervous now".

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