Fire crews respond to cannery, grass blazes

Firefighters responded to at least two fire alarms Monday afternoon, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga reported.

At 4:49 p.m., fire crews from Paia, Makawao, Kahului and Kihei were sent to a report of a fire at the Pauwela Cannery on West Kuiaha Road in Haiku, he said. The fire was contained in a ceramics kiln located in a center unit at the cannery complex.

The fire was extinguished at 5:10 p.m.

The kiln was being used inappropriately to dry sections of bamboo stalks and had been left unattended, Mainaga said. Fortunately, the fire was discovered quickly by Peter Ohashi, the building manager and a retired firefighter.

“This fire had the potential to spread and serves as a reminder to all of us not to use equipment for unintended purposes,” said fire Capt. Ben Bland.

No injuries or monetary damages were reported.

At 5:01 p.m., Kahului engine and tanker companies were dispatched to a 3,000-square-foot area of dry grass and shrubs burning on a road shoulder of a mauka-bound lane of Haleakala Highway, Mainaga said. The blaze was located about a mile downhill of the highway’s intersection with Haliimaile Road.

The fire was brought under control at 5:21 p.m. and extinguished 36 minutes later. The fire’s cause was undetermined, and no monetary damage was reported.