At least three people, two women and one man, were killed Friday when fire broke out in an apartment building in Honolulu, Hawaii, near the top of a 538-unit high-rise. The blaze started around 2:15 in the afternoon on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo Apartments, spreading to 12 units. More than 100 firefighters responded to the alarm; one was hospitalized along with four other injured people.
"I looked out my window, and noticed black smoke," said resident Joel Horiguchi. "I then opened my window to find the fire was a unit above us, just across. I also heard a neighbor above screaming for help." Building residents on affected floors have been evacuated and sheltered in a nearby park.
The fire is believed to have spread in part because the apartment where it started did not have sprinklers. "Without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin," said Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves. Built in 1971, the tower was completed before local code required builders to install sprinklers.