UPDATE: Maui fire causes $1.4 million in damage | News
KAHANA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A huge fire disrupted holiday plans for dozens of Maui visitors. The Valley Isle Resort will be shut down all week after a costly blaze consumed a nearby sports club in Kahana. It took crews nearly 11 hours to extinguish the fire. The early morning blaze caused an estimated $1.4 million in damage.
Fire crews rushed to the Maui Muscle Sports Club Kahana at about six o'clock on Monday morning. The building is connected to the 12-story Valley Isle Resort.
"It was just absolutely engulfed and for anyone to experience that being here on vacation, it must have been very traumatic for them," said Paul Johnson, property manager for Valley Isle Resort.
According to authorities, the two-story commercial building contained a gym, sauna and offices. 60 firefighters from stations as far away as Wailuku and Kahului responded. By the time the first crews arrived, smoke was already pouring out of the second floor.
"They tried to make entry and by then I think the fire had already vented through the roof so at that time it was determined that we pull our guys out for their safety and do a defensive attack," said Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
Valley Isle Resort's office and lobby are located in the damaged building.
"All of the records for the names of the guests obviously were inside the office which was totally flooded by the firefighters attempting to keep the fire from spreading," said Johnson.
The fire also left behind lots of ash and debris on the property. All 120 vacation rental units, which are individually owned,will now be inspected for smoke damage.
"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it. I mean it was bad. Thank God everybody reacted with calmness and also nobody was hurt," said Adell Sievers, who has owned one of the rental units for 22 years.
Guests were briefly allowed to return in the afternoon to grab essential items like prescription medications. They'll have a chance to pack up more of their belongings on Tuesday, since the property will be shut down until at least Saturday.
"We're concerned about smoke damage and safety around the property in general. Just traversing around the property right now is extremely dangerous," explained Johnson.
Investigators will return to the scene on Tuesday to try to figure out what sparked the fire.
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