DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Joe Ornellas, manager of Lalea at Hawaii Kai townhouses, stood beside a boulder yesterday while looking up the hillside from which it came tumbling down on Monday.
BOULDER: LALEA COMPLEX IS HIT AGAIN
2-ton rock misses crashing into Hawaii Kai townhouse
STORY SUMMARY »
A 2 1/2-ton boulder tumbled down a hillside in Hawaii Kai Monday into the Lalea townhouse complex.
There were no injuries, and damage was limited to a concrete ditch and retaining wall, an access road surface and a fence.
Lalea is the same subdivision where two boulders rolled down the side of Mariner's Ridge five years ago, damaging two cars and forcing the evacuation of 26 units.
Monday's boulder came from a section of the hillside not covered by protective netting installed after the 2002 incident.
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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
An anxious Catherine Ball yesterday described how a boulder came tumbling down the hillside above the Lalea at Hawaii Kai townhouse complex on Monday, bounced onto the ground at the edge of her fenceline, then came to a rest on the road.
An estimated 2 1/2-ton boulder crashed down Monday night on the same Hawaii Kai townhouse complex where falling rocks forced the evacuation of 26 units five years ago.
The most recent boulder came from a cliff face on the mauka end of the Lalea complex -- not covered by the netting installed to prevent a repeat of the 2002 event.
No injuries were reported.
Catherine Ball said she was awakened by a crunching noise between 11 and 11:30 p.m.
"It sounded like somebody backed into the garage, but without the shaking," Ball said.
She said she and her husband looked out of their bedroom window but didn't see anything. Before they were able to check the rest of their property, neighbors were ringing the doorbell.
They found the boulder on the access road next to their unit. It appeared to have tumbled down from a cliff facing their yard and living room.
But instead of crashing into their unit, the boulder appeared to have hit the road then bounced to the side, coming to a stop on the road after clipping the corner of the Balls' backyard fence.
She said her 4-year-old son's bedroom faces the cliff. Ball, her husband, son and 13-month-old daughter were in upstairs bedrooms at the time.
Lalea manager Joe Ornellas said the boulder did not leave evidence of the path it took except for the damage it caused to the concrete ditch and retaining wall at the bottom of the hill, a divot in the road surface and the damage to the fence.
Ball said heavy rains fell Monday evening.
Ball and her husband moved into their Lalea home about a month before Thanksgiving 2002. They were not among the families evacuated from their homes for a year as Lalea developer Castle & Cooke and property owner Kamehameha Schools hired contractors to survey the hillside and install the protective netting.
Phil Nerney, attorney for the Association of Apartment Owners of Lalea at Hawaii Kai, said the cliff facing the Balls' unit has been "an area of concern" since 2002.
"There have been ongoing surveying work and assessment on that section of the slope," said Kekoa Paulsen, Kamehameha Schools spokesman. "Mitigation just hasn't gotten under way yet."
4 boulders fall so far this month
Monday's boulder incident was the latest in a series of rock plunges this month:
» A 10-ton boulder slid down the Lanikai hillside and crashed against the living room of a Kailua home.
» A 4-foot-wide boulder crashed through the living room of an Aina Haina home while a resident was watching TV.
» A 3-foot-wide boulder crashed into a home in Palolo, landing on a child's bed.