Update 6-19-12 4:11 p.m. — Maui Fire Chief Lee Mainaga has provided an update on the investigation of the fire. Amount of $650,000 in total damages. Damage to the structure $250,000 and for the contents $400,000. Cause is undetermined after investigation and considered accidental.
A kitchen fire early this morning at Hotel Molokai forced about 50 guests of the island’s only hotel to leave their rooms. Guests were allowed to return to their rooms early this afternoon, although electric power has not yet been restored.
According to Hotel Manager Michael Drew, the fire in the bottom of the two-story wooden structure started between 2 and 2:15 a.m. Drew said the hotel was at about 50 percent occupancy when one of the guests was the first to notice the outbreak.
When the alarm went off, the guests were all quickly awakened. No injuries were reported. “We had to get them out of their rooms until everything was under control,” said Drew. “That’s the only inconvenience at this time.”
The call came in at 3:20 a.m., said Maui Fire Department Chief Lee Mainga. When fire engines 4, 9 and 12 arrived, flames had fully engulfed the bottom of the 75-by-50-foot building, in the hotel’s restaurant kitchen and laundry areas.
By 5:40 a.m. the fire was under control and overhaul operations had begun. A cause for the fire and the extent of the damage has not yet been determined and won’t be released until the investigation is complete (See update at top of story).
With Molokai Fire Inspector Rick Schonely off island, Maui Fire Inspector James Blando flew over this morning to begin the investigation. Water service was restored this morning but electrical service won’t return until the investigation is complete, according to Mainaga.
This is the biggest fire at Hotel Molokai since Drew took over as general manager five years ago. “If you have a kitchen you’re going to have some fires,” said Drew, “but nothing of this magnitude.”
How long until the restaurant is reopened? “I have no idea, I haven’t even had a chance to go past the yellow line,” said Drew. “Can’t pass the yellow tape till the inspector gives me the OK.”
Drew said he will have a further update on Thursday.