At least three people died as dozens of firefighters battled a multiple-alarm fire in a Honolulu high-rise apartment building just outside Waikiki on Friday.
The blaze at the Marco Polo apartments started on the 26th floor and spread to at least the 27th floor and several other units, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins. He said the number of fatalities could change.
Firefighters said there were reports of people trapped in their units inside the burning building.
The high-rise has 568 apartments and four commercial spaces. Paramedics treated several injured people, and at least two people were sent to the hospital in serious but stable condition.
Troy Yasuda, who lives across the street, was giving water to people who had evacuated. “They were choking from the smoke,” he said, adding that people told him they had evacuated through dark stairwells.
Police were yelling through megaphones for people still inside to come down, Yasuda said. He watched as people were carried out.
“It’s been an orderly evacuation,” said security guard Leonard Rosa, who was answering phones from the front lobby of the 31-story building. Police and firefighters were going door-to-door, he said.
Fourth-floor resident Aaron Dengler and his wife were helping their elderly neighbor get to an aid station the American Red Cross set up at a nearby park. “It doesn’t help to just stand and watch,” he said.
About two hours after the fire started, it appeared as though the flames were getting bigger and the blaze was reaching the 28th floor, Dengler said. “People are getting kind of nervous now,” he said. “It’s worrisome.”
One resident who declined to give his name said he made it to safety after climbing stairs from the 29th floor. The man said there was so much black smoke, he could hardly see.
8:45 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that at least three people died and to include comments from a security guard and a resident.
This article was originally published at 6:55 p.m.