STAR-BULLETIN / MARCH 2006
A view of Ka Loko Reservoir at Kilauea, Kauai, shows where the dam wall broke, releasing a wall of water downstream.
THE KA LOKO DAM BREAK: 2 YEARS LATER
Holes remain in disaster’s wake
KILAUEA, Kauai » Plenty of scars and questions linger two years after the Ka Loko dam breach killed seven people.
Kuhio Highway, which was shut down for two days and stranded hundreds, has been fixed. A huge culvert replaced the small one that used to keep the flow of Wailapa Stream underneath the lone road to Kauai's North Shore.
The grass has grown over where huge trees used to stand, and the cars, pieces of home furnishings and other debris are gone from the 100-yard swath of destruction wrought by 300 million gallons of water.
His family will gather for quiet reflection to mark the date he lost three loved ones.
Ka Loko Reservoir itself remains untouched, still wrapped in legal trouble. The waterfall and small swimming hole along Wailapa Stream are now a muddy gorge.
And the two homes where seven people died on March 14, 2006, have never been rebuilt.
Ka Loko will be an agenda item today at a Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting.
Dam owner James Pflueger, through his attorneys, is trying to block an inspection team from going to the site, arguing that any inspection would be against his constitutional rights since a criminal investigation into the breach is ongoing.
Many Kauai residents blame Pflueger for the breach, saying he covered up an emergency spillway.
It is the most likely of scenarios but would not be the only cause, an independent report found last year.
Pflueger has not been charged with a crime, and no one has found evidence of the spillway at the site, despite extensive digging.
The family of Bruce Fehring, on whose property all seven victims were staying, will gather for quiet reflection.
(L - R )
Aurora Fehring, Rowan Fehring-Dingwall, Alan Dingwall
His surviving three sons will be in town, flying in from Italy, the East Coast and the West Coast to mark the date he lost his daughter, Aurora Fehring, son-in-law, Alan Dingwall, and his grandson, Rowan Fehring-Dingwall, who would have been celebrating his fourth birthday this week.
"We'll be together," Fehring said yesterday. "That's a good thing."
Fehring had a heart attack March 6. He is out of the hospital and working on taking better care of himself, something he said his wife, Cyndee, is making sure of.
"The stress has not been helpful," he added.
Instead, he and Cyndee are trying to keep the memory of their daughter alive with the Aurora Project, a foundation started to raise money for underprivileged kids.
Over the holidays, the Fehring family spent weeks in Thailand, near the Burmese border, building orphanages through a charity called Children of the Forest.
Fehring said he might call the family members of others who died that day -- Christina McNees and Daniel Arroyo, parents-to-be just four days from their wedding; their best friend, Timothy Noonan; and Wayne "Banyan" Rotstein, the Fehrings' caretaker -- to mark the day as well.