Maui News

Loud Explosion at Times Market Attributed to Compressor

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Hazmat truck, file image by Wendy Osher.

Hazmat truck. File image by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Fire crews were called to the scene of Times Supermarket in Kīhei last night where a loud explosion was heard within the store shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said a compressor that runs the refrigeration for the chillers blew, sending a white vapor cloud into the store.

Authorities evacuated an estimated 30 people from the supermarket with two employees complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath, but refusing transport to the hospital, according to department reports.

Fire officials have since identified the vapor cloud as R22 refrigerant.

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According to FS Chief Mainaga, Hazmat crews investigated the incident and gave the all clear at approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday night.

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Refrigeration technicians were allowed to enter the store and begin repair work, and the store was reopened.

The incident forced the closure of South Kīhei Road fronting the store and West Līpoa on the south side of the supermarket. Authorities say all roads were reopened about 30 minutes later.

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