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Update: Honolulu high-rise blaze kills at least three, injures two

Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 11:07

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At least three people were killed and two suffered smoke inhalation on Friday as a fire consumed several floors of a 36-story condominium tower in Honolulu, media said.

[HONOLULU, Hawaii]  At least three people were killed and two suffered smoke inhalation on Friday as a fire consumed several floors of a 36-story condominium tower in Honolulu, media said.

Thick black smoke poured from the building as orange flames raged on several floors and debris fell from windows in images broadcast by bystanders on the Periscope streaming service.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze, spraying water on flames from nearby balconies as a helicopter circled above, images posted online showed.

The fire began on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo high rise building at about 2:15pm, spreading to floors above and below, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper said.

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The cause of the fire was not immediately known. As many as three people died on the 26th floor, Fire Chief Manuel Neves told a news conference at the scene. He did not provide details of the deaths, the paper said.

Emergency responders treated several people, with two taken to a nearby hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, it said, adding that one of the two hospitalized patients was in serious condition, but the other was stable.

“Paramedics are expediting emergency treatment with a triage location inside the building,” Shayne Enright of the city’s Emergency Medical Services department told the paper.

Fire officials were also responding to reports of people trapped in their apartments, the paper said, but had not confirmed the number.  Evacuees from the building were being accommodated at a nearby park, with volunteers tending them, the Hawaii Red Cross said on social network Twitter.

The fire forced the closure of a major road in front of the condominium complex, the Honolulu police department said on Twitter.

In London, at least 80 people were killed when a fire gutted the 24-story Grenfell Tower apartments on June 14.

Authorities have opened two major investigations into the blaze, the worst in the British capital since World War Two, and have said criminal charges could be forthcoming.

REUTERS

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