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Dryer fire causes Kailua-Kona condo evacuation

KAILUA-KONA — A dryer fire in a downtown condo forced evacuation of several residents Sunday morning.

Hawaii Fire Department first got the call to Kona Pacific Condominium on Walua Road at 10:56 a.m. Most residents had already self-evacuated when crews arrived on scene.

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Hawaii Fire Battalion Chief Ian Smith said the origin of the fire was a stackable washer/dryer unit. The flames spread to the ceiling above the utilities. However, crews quickly suppressed the fire with extinguishers.

Smith said firefighters used a standpipe to knock out the rest of the fire.

Residents stood around outside the complex waiting for crews to give them permission to go back inside. One of those residents was Patty Silver.

Silver lives a few units down from where the fire broke out. She said she was getting ready to go to Sunday service when she smelled smoke.

“When I went out in the hallway I saw this thick smoke and I heard the alarm,” Silver said. “It smelled like burning rubber.”

Silver was concerned about her neighbor Susan Golden, who is wheelchair bound.

“I tried to get to Susan’s door but couldn’t,” she said.

Silver said the smoke was too thick.

“Smoke was just billowing out the windows and hallways,” she said.

When fire crews arrived, they broke down Golden’s door and brought her to safety.

Smith said no one was injured. On Sunday afternoon, crews were trying to assess the damage of units surrounding the origin of the fire.

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Smith said the unit below suffered water damage. It was unknown what smoke damage the neighboring units sustained as firefighters were unable make contact with the residents of those condos.

The scene cleared around 1 p.m.