Rubbish Fire below Wailuku Bridge (or Singing Bridge) in Downtown Hilo leads to the closure of Highway 19 Monday evening (June 29th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Holualoa and Hilo) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a report of a rubbish fire at a known homeless camp below the Wailuku Bridge (or Singing Bridge) in Downtown Hilo Monday evening (June 29th).
The initial call came in 7:52 pm Monday evening and HFD crews from the Central and Kaumana Fire Stations along with Battalion 1 and HPD officers from the South Hilo Patrol responded to the scene located on Highway 19 (Hawaii Belt Road) on the Hamakua side of the 'Singing Bridge'.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in from nearby residents in the surrounding area reporting heavy smoke was visible coming from below the 'Singing Bridge'. It was noted that the area, where the smoke was coming from, was the area of a known homeless camp.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD crews found heavy smoke coming from the makai (ocean) side of the 'Singing Bridge' and immediately worked to extinguish the fire which was spreading to a nearby wooden pedestrian walkway and towards the deck of the bridge. The fire was later determined to be a rubbish fire.
HPD officers temporarily closed Highway 19 from Hau Lane and Waianuenue Avenue intersections while HFD crews worked to extinguish the rubbish fire in the area and were redirected to use Wainaku Street. However, as a precaution, Highway 19 remains closed until a full inspection can be complete by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) crews were also on scene inspecting the integrity of the deck of the bridge and wooden pedestrian walkway damaged in the fire.