Boulders rolled down a Hawaii Kai hillside near the home of Sione Galvez about 8 p.m. Thursday, damaging two of his cars. Residents are worried that more rocks could fall down the mountainside.

Boulders worry
Hawaii Kai residents

Waimanalo hoping for a sunny weekend

By Leila Fujimori

After a couple of massive boulders smashed into her Hawaii Kai condominium complex Thanksgiving night, Misao Higa could not sleep at her home.

"It was still raining and we didn't feel safe," Higa said. "I have a 4-month-old baby, and his bedroom is on this (the hillside) side. We checked everything in the house, and we left."

But while they stayed somewhere else Thursday, they are back in the Lalea townhouse complex now, and they and others who live there remain concerned about the possibility of boulders crashing down again.

The boulders, one about 4 feet by 6 feet and weighing five tons, and another about 4 feet by 4 feet, rolled down the Hawaii Kai hillside at about 8 p.m. Thursday after heavy rain and were stopped by a 2001 Lexus GS430 and a 1999 Honda CRV sport utility vehicle owned by Sione and Tracy Galvez. A smaller rock smashed a second-story window of the Galvez home.

The boulders that fell in Hawaii Kai on Thursday night came down this mountainside.

"Luckily, they had the cars there and it stopped the rocks," Higa said. But she noted there was only a flimsy plastic fence in her back yard which would not provide any protection from a boulder.

The Galvezes' home, like the Higas', is about 10 feet away from the hillside, which sits below Mariner's Ridge.

Other rocks, some of which are secured by cables, seem to sit precariously above the homes.

Higa said that before purchasing the property, they were told the rocks were tied down.

"If they don't take action, we may consider moving," she said. "But after this happened, who wants to buy this property?"

Neighbors Jeffrey and Ruth Carroll also hope whoever is responsible will take care of the problem.

Lalea owns the lower part of the hillside, and Kamehameha Schools owns the upper portion.

Jeffrey Carroll said he has heard "little rocks, softball size, tumbling down at night, but this is the first big one."

A geologist will come out Monday to examine the ridge, said Joe Ornellas, site manager for Lalea.

Kekoa Paulsen, Kamehameha Schools spokesman, said the trust sent a land manager to look at the site yesterday.

Kamehameha Schools is doing an overall assessment of all its lands, after Dara Onishi was killed in her home by a falling boulder in August, Paulsen said.

"I don't know if there's a clear solution to every situation.

"Would we get to the point where we prohibit building, or would the entire mountainside have to be removed or what? It is a serious situation now. It could require very drastic remedies," Paulsen said.

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