Fire flares up at Coco Palms on Kauai

Kauai firefighters responded to a fire at the landmark Coco Palms Resort on Friday.

According to officials, the fire broke out at about noon. So far, at least two structures at the resort were damaged. No one was injured.

The flames were contained at about 2:15 p.m.

Onlookers sent in photos to KHON2, showing the hotel on fire, along with the heavy black smoke.

The Coco Palm’s site manager told KHON2 he was on the property Friday morning, but left at around 10 o’clock. He later returned to see the beloved hotel ablaze.

“They won’t let us in there. But in talking with the firemen, at least three of the main buildings are burning. The lobby and the main dinning room, and the main lounge,” said Bob Jasper, site manager at the Coco Palms Resort.

Photo courtesy Chris Jensen
Photo: Chris Jensen

Alii Kayaks is located just across street. A worker there told KHON2 they didn’t have to evacuate and their business wasn’t affected.

“Basically just smoke and a lot of onlookers. About 50 people maybe just taking pictures, being nosy,” said Heather Borges, who works at Ali’i Kayaks.

Borges says a fire like this is very strange.

“Fires like these don’t really start on this side of the island, because we’re the more — it’s not the dry side of our island. So this is more out of the blue. So no, not common at all,” Borges said.

The iconic resort was made famous by Elvis Presley’s movie, Blue Hawaii. It closed after Hurricane Iniki slammed into Kauai back in 1992.

It’s also not the first time a fire broke out. In 2009, a fire on the second floor caused an estimated $40,000 in damage.

Back in May, KHON2 learned that the resort would be re-branded under the Hyatt name.

As for Friday’s fire, some say the damage is devastating.

“I was told it destroyed that huge giant conch shell in there and that’s a historic relic. That’s really sad,” Jasper said. “It just breaks my heart.”

KHON2 reached out to the Hyatt. The company says it is gathering more information and had no comment.

A team of three firefighters were recalled Friday to tend to any flare-ups at Coco Palms overnight. The firefighters arrived at about 8 p.m. and monitor it until the next shift change at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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