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Person Missing After Flames Consume Unpermitted Structure in Pāhoa

May 7, 2020, 8:51 AM HST
* Updated May 7, 2:15 PM
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A structure fire consumed an unpermitted residence in Pāhoa Wednesday evening, leaving Hawai‘i Fire Department officials to question whether one unaccounted occupant may have been trapped inside during the blaze.

In its official report, HFD listed no known injuries or fatalities connected to the fire at 14-3389 Lehua Road in Nanawale Estates, the first report of which came into the station just before 9 p.m. Wednesday.

However, while the cause of the fire was officially listed as “unknown,” neighbors reported that a resident was “playing with fire” before the flames took hold. The HFD report noted that the structure in question was “fully involved in fire” and that it was “unknown if occupant was inside structure.” Initial reports indicated the home housed four occupants, one of whom remains unaccounted for.

As noted by HFD, the 12×20-foot structure in question was unpermitted, “with various bicycles, vehicles and other materials strewn about.” It had no electricity or county water services and had been erected on a narrow, unlit road.

When firefighters arrived, the roof was fully collapsed and an SUV in an adjacent garage was partially burning. The fire was extinguished and two searches, one of the structure and another of the surrounding areas, were conducted, but first responders were unable to locate the missing party.

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HFD projected the financial loss at $2,400.

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UPDATE, Thursday, May 7: The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that the individual missing from the property has been located in good health.

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