UPDATE: Body Found in Burn Area of Olowalu Brush Fire

March 11, 2016, 8:47 AM HST · Updated March 11, 6:06 PM
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UPDATE: 5:27 p.m. 3/11/16

During mop-up operations at the site of an Olowalu brush fire that had occurred early Friday morning, March 11, 2016, fire crews discovered a body laying beside a burned-out truck, fire officials said.

Maui Fire Capt. Paul Haake said the vehicle and body appeared to have been burned as a result of the brush fire, but the actual cause of death of the identity of the individual found is pending autopsy results.

The cause of the brush fire is still undetermined.

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Emergency crews from Lahaina responded to reports of an early morning brush fire near Mile 17 of the Honoapiʻilani Highway in Olowalu between the Olowalu dump and Kaihelekū-Launiupoko.

The incident was reported at 2:10 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016.

Maui Fire Captain Paul Haake said the first crew on-scene, Engine 3, discovered a brush fire burning in an area of light grass with a mix of kiawe trees on the mauka side of the highway.

According to Capt. Haake, additional resources were called in because the fire was spreading fast due to strong winds. Crews from Nāpili, Kahului, Wailuku, and Wailea fire stations also responded along with assistance from the West Maui Land Company and the Maui County Department of Public Works.

The cause of fire is undetermined at this time, but was reported to have started near the cut-mountain area.

Capt. Haake said the fire traveled quickly in the Wailuku and Nāpili directions, jumping the highway to burn a small area of brush on the makai side.

As of 7:30 this morning, approximately eight acres of brush along the highway had burned. The fire was 100% contained with hot spots in the middle areas of the burn.

The highway was closed by police in the initial phase of the fire but has since been reopened as of 5 a.m.

Fire crews were still on-scene this morning, working to extinguish hot spots on both the mauka and makai sides of the highway. There are no injuries to report and no structures were threatened.

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