Fire investigators reported Monday morning that they completed their investigation of the three-alarm fire that caused dozens of residents to evacuate an apartment building near Ala Moana Center Sunday.
The cause of the fire at 620 Sheridan Street — adjacent to Kapiolani Boulevard and next door to the Blue Cross Animal Hospital — has been classified as undetermined.
The undetermined classification of a fire means that the investigators analyzed all possible causes of the fire but there is insufficient information to identify any one specific cause. In addition, there is insufficient information to substantially eliminate some or all of the other possible causes. The case is now closed, and can be reopened if there were introduction or discovery of new information about the fire.
The fire started at about 10:30 a.m.
When firefighters arrived minutes later, heavy, black smoke and flames were shooting out of windows on the third floor. They immediately attacked the source with a water cannon. Another fire company was able to get inside and attack the blaze there.
The building has at least 24 units and some of the residents and their pets needed help from firefighters to evacuate.
It took firefighting crews about 15 minutes to extinguish the fire.
A 49-year-old man, a 58-year-old woman, and an 88-year-old woman were taken by EMS personnel to Straub Medical Center in stable condition for smoke inhalation.
Scott Bolter, who was covered in soot, said the fire started in the apartment he shares with his mother.
“I awoke to fire and smoke,” he said. “I couldn’t see anything past two feet in front of my face. I ran towards the door, got my mother out of the building first, and after that I told her to go downstairs and notifiy the fire department. I kept the stairwell door open for ventilation to make sure none of the other tenants were choking or in any danger of suffocation.”
Property manager Erica Myers said “when we went in the stairwell to evacuate with our dogs, the closest stairwell was filled with smoke. As we made our way down, even though lights were on, we still couldn’t see.”
Some tenants had more trouble with their pets. “We have six dogs,” said Bradford Yamamoto. “They didn’t want to leave, so we just left them on the lanai. They are on the other side of the building, so we’re pretty sure they are safe.”
The fire is under investigation and the cause has not been determined at this time. Damage estimates are not available, but several units received damage and the entire building is unsafe for occupation due to smoke damage.
The American Red Cross was dispatched and is assisting all occupants that were displaced by the fire.
The Hawaiian Humane Society was also contacted to help with the pets and the animal hospital next door said the two dogs in their care are doing okay.