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Firefighters respond to early morning blaze at Mokauea Island | News

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Firefighters respond to early morning blaze at Mokauea Island
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Firefighters respond to early morning blaze at Mokauea Island

Investigators will return to Mokauea Island in Keehi Lagoon on Friday to try to determine the cause of the Thursday morning blaze that destroyed a home.

The small island is the site of Oahu's last Hawaiian fishing village and is considered a historical treasure.

Thick smoke billowed as giant flames devoured the one-bedroom home. A 54-year-old man who is said to "come and go" from the residence is still unaccounted for.

Since there is no connecting road, fire crews had to use their fire boat to get to the island, shooting ocean water through their pumps. There are also no fire hydrants on the 10-acre island.

The fire broke out at about 5 a.m. Fire crews extinguished the flames at about 7 a.m.

Ben Bagood lives in the adjacent house and says southwest winds saved his home.

"The thing was blowing the other way, man. Good, otherwise the thing would, if was trade winds, it would go to my house, the fire. Probably my house going burn, too," Bagood said.

Nearly 50 Farrington High School juniors were scheduled to help clear the brush and Kiawe from the village as well as remove invasive algae from its fishpond. Instead, they learned how to paddle canoes and visited a different part of the island.

Damages from the fire are estimated at $75,000.

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