VIDEO: Storage shed damaged in Happy Valley fire on Maui; homes saved

July 11, 2010, 9:16 PM HST · Updated July 13, 7:50 AM
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Click here to view video of Happy Valley Fire

By Wendy Osher

(6:15 a.m. 7/12/10)

Firefighters will assess the extent of damage today caused by a fire overnight in the Happy Valley subdivision of Wailuku on Maui.  A storage shed was burned, but homes were saved in the densely populated area.  The fire was first reported at around 8 p.m. Sunday on Mokuhau Road before it advanced to the Maika street area.  Mokuhau road remained closed this morning as crews continue to monitor the burn area.

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WATER CONSERVATION:  Because 2 wells in Happy Valley were affected by the temporary loss of power last night and water tank levels must be restored, customers in Central and South Maui are advised to conserve water. Department of Water Supply crews are working to restore the wells and increase pumping from other sources to keep up with demand.

Battalion Chief Jeff Shaffer who served as incident commander overnight said the fire could have been worse, but crews worked really hard to help save the neighborhood.  A command post was set up at the Living Way Church of Maui as 40 firefighters from six companies responded to the blaze.  The cause is undetermined, but residents tell us they heard what sounded like loud fireworks just moments before they saw flames coming from the upper portion of the subdivion.  Crews plan to assess the area during daylight today. 

(Update 4:33 a.m. 7/12/10)

Fire crews remained on scene overnight, monitoring the burn area of a Happy Valley fire that burned a storage shed, but steered clear of homes in the densely populated subdivision.

By 4:30 this morning, police had reopened North Market Street to traffic in and out of Happy Valley, but continued to block access to Mokuhau Road where the fire started at around 8 o’clock Sunday night.  Power was temporarily shut off for about 3 and a half hours at the request of firefighters as a safety measure, and was restored at around 1:30 a.m.  

Fire officials will assess the burn area later today to determine the extent of the fire, and damages.  Although a cause was not named, witnesses and nearby residents tell us they heard firecrackers coming from the top end of the subdivision just before the blaze began. 

County officials say the fire started on Mokuhau Road and advanced to Maika Street. 

More than  40 firefighters responded from the Wailuku, Kahului, Lahaina, Wailea, Makawao, and Kula stations including off-duty firefighters who were called back to work. Water tankers from the Fire Department, County Public Works and Rojac Trucking were also on scene.

Fire officials thanked the Living Way Church of Maui for opening their offices for use as a command post overnight and providing water and assistance to firefighters and support personnel.

“At daylight we’ll be able to see the extent of the damage, but it could have been worse,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Shaffer who worked through the night as the incident commander.  “ Our crews worked really hard to help save this neighborhood and keep it from getting worse,” he said.

(11:52 p.m. 7/11/10)

Crews remain on scene at a fire in Happy Valley first reported at around 8 o’clock tonight (Sunday, June 11, 2010). At around 11:30 p.m., there was still heavy smoke in the area and a few hot spots remained visible from nearby homes. As of 10:45 pm there were no known injuries or damage to structures, and no evacuations were ordered, according to Maui County Communications Director Mahina Martin.

Multiple fire crews responded to a rapid spreading fire reported at 8 p.m. Sunday in the upper portion of the Happy Valley subdivision in Wailuku. Photo Courtesy Kapena Kalama.

Units responding to the scene included fire companies from Wailuku, Kahului, Lahaina, Kihei, Wailea, Makawao, and Kula. Off duty firefighters were also called back to duty to assist with the firefighting efforts. Tankers from the Public Works Department, the Maui Fire Department and Rojac Trucking also assisted in the fire fighting efforts.

(11:05 p 7/11/10)

Firefighters continue to battle hotspots in the upper portion of the Happy Valley subdivision. Power remains out and nearby roads remained closed at last report. According to witness reports, the fire moved downhill at first, spreading quickly in the first few minutes before fire fighting crews arrived on scene. The fire was first reported at around 8 p.m. Witnesses tell Pacific Radio Group and MauiNOW.com that they heard fireworks right around the time the fire started. At around 10:45 p.m., the fire appeared less threatening, according to Happy Valley residents, but mutliple hot spots were still visible.

Witnesses say they heard firecrackers in the moments just before seeing flames in the Happy Valley subdivision earlier this evening. Photo courtesy Kapena Kalama.

County authorities say the fire started on Mokuhau Road and advanced to Maika Street. North Market Street at the intersection of Mill and N. Market Street remains closed. Traffic from Kahekili Highway is being rerouted to Makaala Drive. Access into the Happy Valley area and Puuhala is not available.

As of 10:15 p.m., there were no evacuations. Maui police have issued precautionary advisories to residents in the immediate area to be prepared to evacuate if necessary. No injuries are reported and no structures damaged at last report.

(Update: 10:11 p.m. 7/11/10)

Fire crews continue to battle a large brush fire above Happy Valley this evening. The fire was first reported at 8 p.m. and resulted in the closure nearby roads. North Market Street at the intersection of Mill and North Market Street remains closed. Traffic from Kahekili Highway is being rerouted to Makaala Drive. Access into the Happy Valley area and Puuhala is not available.

Authorities also shut off power to the Happy Valley Area at around 10 p.m. as a precautionary measure. The request was initiated as a precautionary measure for the safety of firefighters on scene.

As of 10:15 p.m., there were no evacuations. Maui police have issued precautionary advisories to residents in the immediate area to be prepared to evacuate if necessary. The fire is reported to have started on Mokuhau Road and advanced to Maika Street.

Witnesses on scene reported hearing fireworks and tell Pacific Radio Group and MauiNOW.com that the fire started near the top of the Happy Valley subdivision before advancing.

Multiple fire crews are on scene and no injuries are reported or structures damaged. Flames and heavy smoke in the area can be seen for miles. Motorists are asked to avoid traveling in the area.

(Update: 9 p.m. 7/11/10)

Maui fire crews are responding to a large brush fire in the Happy Valley area of Wailuku. We received word of the fire at around 8:15 this evening, however, witnesses on scene say the fire started at around 8 o’clock tonight. They reported hearing fireworks and report the fire started near the top of the Happy Valley subdivision before moving downhill and then advancing up hill towards the Wailuku Country Estates and Iao Valley.

There are multiple fire crews on scene responding to the incident. Due to the fire roads, into Happy Valley are closed. Traffic is being rerouted from Kahekili onto Makaala as well as N Market St at Mill St in Wailuku.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area as crews access the site.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

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