Kona blaze keeps firefighters busy

  • Hawaii Fire Department personnel work Wednesday to extinguish a flare-up of a fire that broke out Tuesday night off Kuakini Highway. The fire burned approximately 3 acres of private property, including a homeless encampment Tuesday night. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Firefighters squashed a flare-up Wednesday afternoon of a fire that burned a homeless encampment Tuesday night in North Kona.

Hawaii Fire Department firefighters first responded to the fire south of Pottery Terrace about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, finding a homeless encampment above Kuakini Highway ablaze, officials said. Five companies responded to the fire torched at least 3 acres of private property where homeless were known to camp. The fire was brought under control by 2 a.m.


Units were called back to the scene Wednesday afternoon after reports of a flare-up, and quickly doused the flames. A single-lane closure was implemented on Kuakini Highway as firefighters worked the fire.

The personnel quickly extinguished Wednesday’s flare-up and saturated the area to prevent further flames.

Hawaii Police Department Community Policing Officer Dwayne Sluss was the first to report the fire flare-up Wednesday afternoon while conducting patrols in the area. He was unsure of how many homeless camps were in the area nor how many homeless people were displaced by of the blaze.

Sluss said the owners of the property had previously contacted police to issue a trespass citation to the squatters in December. At that time, approximately 12 camps were identified, however, because no trespassing signage or fencing was erected, the charges were dropped in court.

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