Housing complex hit by 2 boulders


POSTED: Saturday, January 23, 2010

State housing officials are moving about 50 people living in two of nine units at the Kamehameha IV housing complex that were hit yesterday by two large boulders dislodged from a ridge behind the Kalihi Valley building.

Nine families are being moved to temporary housing next to the complex until officials can determine whether it will be safe to return.

“;It was always safe here,”; said Georgi Puahi, who has lived in the Kalihi Valley housing complex for 35 years. “;There were never any problems.

“;Now it's scary.

“;Even when you are sleeping, you don't know whether it is safe.”;

Sese Sakaria, 57, was sleeping when he “;heard a boom.”;

“;I heard something loud and the building shook.”;

Sakaria's unit is adjacent to the apartment where two boulders — the larger one the size of a Volkswagen Beetle — came to rest.

“;I went out in back to look, and it was right next to my door.

“;Thank God my kids were in school.”;

The incident occurred at 8:20 a.m., according to police.

Sakaria's two children had left for a nearby elementary school just 30 minutes before the boulders rolled off the mountainside into the apartment at 2012 Kalaiwa St. in the Kalihi Valley public housing complex.

Faavevela Utu, who lives in an adjacent apartment complex, was sleeping when he said he heard “;something like a bomb blowing up in a tunnel.”;

;[Preview]    Giant boulders crash into Kalihi housing complex

Boulders crashed into a Kalihi Valley housing complex, forcing residents to evacuate.

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“;It felt like an earthquake.”;

Faavevela was concerned that the vacant unit state officials were contemplating as a relocation site was close to the edge of the mountain.

The land behind the Kalihi Valley housing complex is under the jurisdiction of the Board of Water Supply, according to a spokeswoman from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Kurt Tsue, Board of Water Supply spokesman, said the agency has hired a geo-technical engineer to determine whether the dislodged boulders came from land under its jurisdiction, and sent other officials to assess the entire situation.

“;There was no work going on (by the Board of Water Supply at the time of the incident) above the property,”; Tsue added.

Ligo Letula, Kalihi Valley Homes deputy manager, added, “;Thank God no one was injured and there was no loss of life.”;