Maui News

Puʻunēnē Bagasse Fire Likely Result of Spontaneous Ignition

February 29, 2016, 2:17 PM HST
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HC&S Puʻunēnē Mill. Photo by Wendy Osher.

HC&S Puʻunēnē Mill. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Kahului firefighters assisted employees at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 27, with dousing a fire in a pile of bagasse (sugarcane byproduct) near the Puʻunēnē sugar mill.

Authorities say fire crews arrived on scene to find a 50 x 50 foot pile of bagasse, standing about 15 feet high on fire.

Fire officials say the pile is believed to have spontaneously ignited from the extreme temperatures that are produced by decomposing organic matter.

Crews assisted with water supply to make sure the fire did not jump the road into nearby brush. HC&S personnel eventually broke up the pile with heavy machinery and were able to get a handle on the fire, according to Maui fire officials.

The incident was reported at 1:37 p.m. and Kahului fire crews left the scene at 3:11 p.m.

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