By Wendy Osher
(Update: 12:39 p.m. 3/8/13) A fire at the Hale Kamaole condominium complex in South Maui caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage to the structure, and $120,000 to contents within, according to Maui Fire Department officials. After an investigation, Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the cause of the fire is being classified as “undetermined” pending any further information received. He noted that the fire was “unlikely intentional.”
A fire at a condo unit in Kihei on Thursday night forced the evacuation of an estimated 80 people from the Hale Kamaole complex across from the Kamaole III Beach Park, officials said.
The fire was reported 9:02 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at 2737 South Kihei Road at a single unit on the third floor.
Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the unit was fully engulfed when fire fighters arrived on scene, and was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
The fire was 50% contained by 10 p.m., and 100% contained by 2:38 a.m., said Mainaga.
The entire 40-unit building was evacuated during the incident.
Authorities say residents were allowed to return to their units at 2:45 a.m.; however the involved unit, along with eight other surrounding units, was not allowed to be reoccupied. The displaced residents were housed in other units within the complex overnight.
County Communications Director Rod Antone said fire fighters believed that the fire was in the attic.
Fire Services Chief Mainaga said the involved unit was destroyed, with the fire extending to the unit on the makai side, damaged the neighbor’s roof and balcony storage closet. Other units surrounding the burned unit sustained smoke and water damage.
Fire inspectors remained on scene this morning to investigate. While the investigation is ongoing, authorities say the fire does not seem to have been intentionally set.
Fire units responding to the scene included personnel from the Wailea, Kihei, Wailuku, and Kahului. Fire companies from Lahaina and Makawao also assisted with the incident.
Police temporarily closed South Kihei Road in both directions near the scene during the fire suppression effort.
No injuries were reported.