Payroll, Loans Continue After University of Hawaii Fire

University of Hawaii payroll and student loan functions will continue without interruption after a fire destroyed a building that stored records for the entire university system, officials said Monday.

Honolulu firefighters were still putting out hot spots Monday, a day after the fire in the university’s fiscal building that officials estimate caused $600,000 in damage. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

“Bottom line for us is the damage and the loss of documents or information is not nearly as severe as has been reported,” UH spokeswoman Lynne Waters said.

All payroll information remained on the university’s mainframe computer system and is undamaged, she said. All student loan information was also stored electronically, with original documents such as promissory notes stored in a fireproof cabinet. Any damaged documents will not affect timely payments, collections and other student loan transactions, she said.

Other paper records, such as internal travel reimbursements and vendor payments were in the building, but original requests and corresponding documentation were stored elsewhere and can be reconstructed. However, doing so will take time, she said.

“We are waiting for the fire department to completely contain and extinguish the fire so that they may go in and start bringing out materials for UH staff to assess, sort and retrieve whatever is possible to salvage,” Waters said.

There were no injuries in the fire, which was reported at 8:03 a.m. Sunday. Firefighters appeared to have the fire under control about 20 minutes later, but at about 10 a.m., the building erupted into flames.

The Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at a park because smoke displaced residents in a nearby apartment building. Thirteen people spent the night at the shelter.

The Red Cross closed the shelter Monday after occupants of the evacuated building were allowed back into their apartments.