KIHEI - What one resident described as a "mini tornado" swept through part of Kihei on Thursday afternoon, blowing off a bus base yard's corrugated metal roof that took down power lines before landing against a nearby home.
"As I was in the kitchen, I heard this boom and I thought, what is that coming from," said June Donaghy, who lives on Paulele Place. "We ran out and saw it was the roof. The wind took the tin roof off and laid it on our house."
Firefighters responded to the 12:36 p.m. report of damage from severe winds at the Akina Aloha Tours/Akina Bus Service base yard at 140 Alahele Place. When a Kihei engine company, Wailea ladder company and Battalion Chief Allen Duarte arrived on scene, they found the 30-by-40-foot roof of a warehouselike structure completely blown off.
Firefighters formulate a plan before attaching a rope to remove a roof that blew off a Kihei bus company building and came to rest against a neighboring house Thursday afternoon. A resident said a “mini tornado” swept through part of Kihei on Thursday afternoon, blowing off the roof.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Duarte said that he had seen what appeared to be wind funnels. Some people reported hearing what sounded like an explosion. With the downed power lines lying in spilled diesel fuel, power was cut, affecting only the Akina base yard.
No injuries were reported.
Firefighters climbed onto the Donaghys' roof to pull down the corrugated metal roof that was lying against the house, June Donaghy said. "They were so good," she said.
She said police and a Maui Electric Co. crew also arrived along with onlookers.
"I think everyone in Kihei was out," she said.
Donaghy said that she had been at a window facing Kahului in her house when she saw what at first looked like a fire whirling up black dust.
"It died down," she said. "All of a sudden, it came up and started heading this way."
The force was like a tornado, she said, moving trees in its path.
She managed to close the four doors that were open on the first floor of the house before the fierce winds hit, going over the house.
"I've seen them before, but I've never been in one," she said. "It was so strong, it was like a mini tornado. Everything was just whirling like you were in the middle of a tornado.
"I heard everything rattling. It was quite an experience. I've lived here 42 years and never experienced anything like that."
A while ago, she said a similar wind funnel uprooted a stop sign at nearby Kanani Road and carried it across the road.
On Thursday, the Donaghys' home suffered no structural damage and only cosmetic damage of $3,000, according to fire officials.
"The gutter is a little bent, that's about it," Donaghy said.
Akina's base yard suffered about $25,000 in damage, according to the Fire Department.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.