HONOLULU — A fire at a settlement on the island of Molokai has destroyed an old building that served as a cafeteria and kitchen for dozens of state employees.
A representative from the state Department of Health said the entire structure on the Kalaupapa settlement went up in flames early Tuesday. No injuries were reported.
“By the time we arrived, the flames were shooting through the windows, and at the peak of the fire, they were at least one or two times the size of the building,” Paul Hosten, chief of natural resource management at Kalaupapa, told Honolulu station KHON.
The island does not have a fire department. A group of volunteers, consisting of park rangers, state personnel and residents, helped fight the blaze and eventually brought it under control.
The health department said 44 employees and Kalaupapa settlement residents would eat their meals at the 80-year-old building every day.
“I do know that there are a lot of memories associated with that building, where people gathered for their meals, and I know that just for that reason the building will be very badly missed by many,” Hosten said.
The state now plans to cook and prepare meals for residents and workers in another building.
The estimated cost of damage from the fire is still being assessed.