Coco Palms Burns

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog, but I have some breaking news. The old Coco Palms hotel, still derelict and pending redelopment is currently burning (as of 3:30 pm). As far as I could see, only the old wooden lobby building is on fire, the main cement buildings seem to be unaffected. It did look like a second building was burning, but I’m not sure which one.

Around noon, my wife saw smoke coming from the Coco Palms and traffic was backed up in the Wailua Beach area. From the Wailua Houselots neighborhood nearby, we could see the column of smoke. Click any photo for high resolution image.

CocoPalmsBurns-01

The local news sites had some first reports, though only the Advertiser had photos of actual flames.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20140704_Fire_breaks_out_at_the_closed_Coco_Palms_hotel.html?id=265855151
http://khon2.com/2014/07/04/fire-flares-up-at-coco-palms-on-kauai/
http://www.kitv.com/news/crews-battle-fire-at-coco-palms-hotel/

Later I went down to look. I parked along the highway by the beach, and from one spot you could clearly see the one roof on fire. There was more smoke coming from the other roof behind, and perhaps the second building. I took the Coco Palms tour last year, and I think the restaurant on the lagoon is behind the lobby, so maybe that had a wooden roof that caught fire as well.

CocoPalmsBurns-02

Then I went around the old shops building by the road to where I could see the fire truck pumping water. From there, I could also see them start to spray the roof.

CocoPalmsBurns-03

One fireman wearing a dust mask told me to move back because the building had asbestos and the smoke might be dangerous. I was upwind of the fire, and never smelled the smoke, but I did move away. I figure the other buildings might cause turbulence and some smoke or particles might be swirling back at us. The firemen who were holding the hoses had full breathing apparatus:

CocoPalmsBurns-04

Back on the highway, I could see them spraying the flames I had seen earlier:

CocoPalmsBurns-05

Note the sign that says: “Be a part of the rebirth.” The news reports above say the fire is contained, but it seems they are not putting it out. It’s now 2 hours after I took those photos, and I can still see smoke rising (the first photo was actually taken last).

The lobby building that burned was one of the ones damaged in the hurricane. It had huge wooden rafters, and the hurricane damaged the roof. But since it was never repaired, 20 years of rains and moisture had warped the wood and left a huge gap in the ridge. So this building needed to be torn down anyway. Hopefully, none of the other building will be affected and the Coco Palms project to refurbish the existing buildings and reopen the hotel can continue.

Here is a shot of what the Coco Palms looks like now. This is a different part of the lagoon, and not the buildings that are burning. For some reason, it makes me think of the popular iPhone game Temple Run. You can imagine what it must’ve looked like back when it was open, and what it could look like again some day.

CocoPalmsBurns-06

Licensing for news organizations: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please credit “A Kaua’i Blog” and link to “http://great-hikes.com/blog”.

Printed from: http://great-hikes.com/blog/coco-palms-burns/.
© 2017.

Leave a Comment