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Suisan Offices, Warehouse Damaged by Fire

Posted May 16, 2014, 10:20 AM HST Updated May 16, 2014, 05:30 PM HST

Part of the Suisan building containing offices and a warehouse was still smoldering this morning (click to enlarge). Photo by Seth Welcker.

***Updated 11:31 a.m.***

The Hawaii County Fire Department battled a large fire at the Suisan company off Kamehameha Avenue overnight.

The fire department issued a statement late this morning saying that the cause of the fire at the food wholesale company remains under investigation.

The fire was first reported at 10:32 p.m., and firefighters from the nearby Waiakea Fire Station were on the scene four minutes later.

The statement said the downtown-side of the building housing offices and an overflow warehouse was fully engulfed in flames.

It took about 2½ hours to get the blaze under control. The fire was declared extinguished at 3:30 this morning.

Four fire companies and five fire engines responded to the scene.

One of the fire companies concentrated on preventing the fire from spreading to the eastern end of the building.

A search was made of the building but nobody was found inside, the statement said.


No injuries were reported.

Police closed the Kamehameha Avenue extension, the road fronting the warehouse and separating it from Hilo airport property, at about 11 p.m.

According to Suisan’s website, the company got its start in 1907 when several merchants and fishermen formed a hui to purchase a business that included the Gehr Fish Market located at the mouth of the Wailoa River.

The location of the Suisan warehouse and fish market is shown on this Google Earth image (click to enlarge).

The locations of the Suisan warehouse and fish market are shown on this Google Earth image (click to enlarge).

The company later expanded into food wholesaling, and in 1955 acquired property containing a sake brewery which would eventually become home to the business offices and warehouses.

Additional storage space for frozen, chilled and dry merchandise was added in 1967.

In 2004, Suisan began offering non-food items such as disposable products for food service, and sanitation and cleaning supplies.

***Updated 1:54 p.m.***


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