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July 5th, 2010
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A large brushfire threatens homes on Kamehame Ridge on Sunday, July 4, 2010 in Hawaii Kai. The fire was probably due to fireworks. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

What an end to a Fourth of July.  Well for me, it wasn’t a holiday, but nonetheless, quite pulse-quickening.  After photographing the fireworks at Maunalua Bay, I was off-duty to spend a late dinner with family up on Kamehame Ridge.  As I was helping with dishes, I couldn’t help but notice the smell…not of dishwashing liquid, not of the coffee on the brew, but…..FIRE!  I peeked outside the window and literally gasped out loud.  An ethereal orange glow was RIGHT THERE!  And I know that orange glow all too well, being a photojournalist for the newspaper.  Instinct immediately kicked in as I raced outside to my car to grab my cameras.  After a short hike, I was able to get the shot you see above as well as the following:

Sure enough, within a minute and a half of making these frames, sirens came wailing up the hill, and the cavalry had arrived.   Police were telling all residents to evacuate the area.  It was quite daunting for me, because while I made these images, I was also worried about my family and their home.  I immediately called our news desk to inform them that I had these images, but evidently the print deadline was far gone.  Still, I moved four images which made the Staradvertiser.com site shortly after midnight.

The next day, my first item on the agenda was to follow up the incident.  I had spoken with my family and they had just gotten home shortly before 8am and said that there were still smoldering hotspots along the top of the ridge.

When I arrived, a number of curious onlookers had arrived to survey the scene.  Honolulu Fire Department’s Air 2 helicopter was in the heat (no pun intended) of the action, flying sorties to and from the ocean to douse these hotspots.  I hiked to a point on the ridge to capture a rare perspective of a helicopter–from above.

Honolulu Fire Department's Air 2 works to extinguish hotspots from a fire on Kamehame Ridge on Monday, July 5, 2010 in Hawaii Kai. The fire started late Sunday night and was believed to have been fireworks-related, according to Capt. Terry Seelig of HFD. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

From my vantage point, I was also able to see a few firefighters working the hoses as well.

Firefighters work to extinguish hotspots from a fire on Kamehame Ridge on Monday, July 5, 2010 in Hawaii Kai. The fire started late Sunday night and was believed to have been fireworks-related, according to Capt. Terry Seelig of HFD. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

The ground was hot and charred, and my first thoughts were that I was glad no one’s lives or property were lost in this gargantuan blaze.  Honolulu firefighters really worked hard to make that happen, so please, the next time you see a firefighter, thank them for what they do and who they are.  I leave you with this rather painterly image of Air 2 as a passing shower acted like a show curtain behind it.

Posted in news | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Close”

  1. marco:

    Nice story. Nice story follow up. Good job.


  2. kent:

    what marco said.

    wild stuff man. wild images.


  3. Neville Uchimura:

    What’s up, I check your blog on a regular basis. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up!


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