Sprinklers Coming for Hawaii Building After Fire That Killed 4

May 4, 2018

A majority of condo owners at the 35-story Marco Polo have voted in favor of retrofitting the building with automated sprinklers several after a deadly fire raged through the building last year, killing four people.

Marco Polo condo owner Sam Shenkus said the owners voted to install the sprinklers in units and hallways, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

Shenkus said 67 percent of the owners voted in favor of the decision.

The July 14, 2017 fire, which began in a unit on the 26th floor, caused more than $100 million in damage. Three people died the day of the fire: Joann Kuwata, 72, Britt Reller, 54, and his mother, Melba Jeannine Dilley, 85.

Marilyn Van Gieson, 81, died Aug. 3 as a result of the fire.

Shenkus said many residents still have not been able to move back into the units.

The high-rise was not equipped with sprinklers, which Honolulu Fire Department officials say could have saved lives. It was built in 1971, prior to a city requirement in the mid-1970s for all new Oahu condo projects to have a sprinkler system.

Shenkus, also a board member, said the money to pay for the retrofitting will come out of the association’s reserves. Condo owners will not be required to come up with the thousands of dollars required to pay for it.

“The vendor is currently undertaking the engineering and other studies needed to build out the system,” said Andrew Fortin, spokesman for Associa Hawaii, Marco Polo’s property management company.

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