Flames from a fire at an abandoned building on the grounds of the old Oahu Sugar Mill last night put on a spectacular show, drawing about 100 onlookers, according to Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

Suspicious fire
demolishes old
sugar mill building

Star-Bulletin staff

A piece of the defunct Oahu Sugar Mill burned last night in a blaze that Honolulu Fire Department officials described as spectacular.

The building had been abandoned, according to HFD spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

"Our firefighters on scene said that the flames were a blue-orange color, and that it looked like there might have been some sort of chemicals burning," said Soo of the building, which was about 20 yards from the mill's smokestack at 94-1024 Waipahu St. "It was a very spectacular fire; about a hundred people gathered around the parking lot to watch."

Soo said the fire alarm came in at 7:13 p.m. and that it took firefighters more than 40 minutes to bring the flames under control.

"It was real difficult because everything was boarded up and sealed," Soo said. "Luckily the closest residence or inhabited building was across the street."

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, fire officials say it appears suspicious because of the circumstances.

Because the building is abandoned, Soo said, it does not appear likely that someone could have accidentally started the fire.

The building also does not have electricity, which ruled out another possible cause.

The sugar mill is considered a historic landmark, but Soo said the building that burned was part of the YMCA property nearby and was scheduled to be demolished.

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