Three were killed Friday when the Marco Polo tower, a 36-story residential tower in Honolulu, caught massive fire. Three others were hospitalized among at least a dozen injured. A firefighter was hospitalized too in serious condition.
The blaze started on the 26th floor, about 2:30 p. Flames then spread to the three floors above because there was nothing to contain the blaze. The Marco Polo tower was built in the 1970s, before sprinkler systems were required. For hours, debris, including shards of glass and a chunk of burning wall, rained down on the streets and balconies below.
Blaze in Marco Polo tower, Honolulu
More than 100 firefighters helped set up a base inside the tower, just below where the flames were raging. When the elevators shut down, they hauled equipment up more than two dozen flights of stairs and brought the fire under control in about four hours. Firefighters declared the blaze under control at 6:32 p.m. The fire was contained to the 26th, 27th, and 28th floors, and damaged more than a dozen units. Some residents were trapped by the smoke and flames. Dozens were assisted down stairwells to exit the building. Emergency Medical Services treated 10 people at the scene. “We’re going to go room by room, go back through and do a secondary search to make sure we haven’t missed anybody or if there’s not anybody still in their apartment,” Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said. Later in the evening, Iolani School was opened to allow people to spend the night. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. There are 568 apartment units, one manager’s residence and four commercial units in the Marco Pollo tower.