Three dead in fire at Honolulu high-rise that had sprinklers

The Marco Polo Tower was built in 1971 before sprinkler systems became mandatory in high-rises in the city.

    2017/07/17

NSFW    HONOLULU — Fire officials in Honolulu were still trying to determine the cause of a fire that ripped through an apartment building on Friday that killed at least three people.

The fire broke out in a unit on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo Tower on Friday afternoon. The building is next to the Ala Wai Canal and Ala Wai Community Park, near the famous Waikiki neighborhood in Honolulu.

There are 36 floors and 586 units in the building, which was built in 1971 before sprinkler systems became mandatory in high-rises in the city.

The fire only spread to the units next to it and immediately above it on the 27th and 28th floors due to its vast wave shape, CBS News reported.

"Without a doubt if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin," Reuters quoted Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves as saying.

Two women and a man were found dead. They have been identified as 71-year-old Joanna M. Kuwata and Melba Dille, and 54-year-old Britt Reller. They were all residents of apartments on the 26th floor.

The fire took place about a month after the London Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 80 people. The Grenfell Tower was also unequipped with sprinkler systems.
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