Fallen tree onto electrical and telecommunication lines leads to an outage and also road closures in Panaewa, South Hilo Monday afternoon (March 29th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hilo) Team
The Hawaii Police Department (HPD) along with the Hawaii Fire Department (HFD), Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), Hawaiian Telcom, and Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) responded to a report of a fallen tree atop utility lines on Kahaopea Street near Awapuhi Street in Panaewa, South Hilo Monday afternoon (March 29th).
The initial call came in at 2:30 pm Monday afternoon and HPD Officers from the South Hilo Patrol along with HFD Crews from the Haihai Fire Station, HDOT, HECO, and Hawaiian Telcom Crews responded to the scene located at 2100 block of Awapuhi Street in Panaewa.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in that a large-sized tree had fallen over Kahaopea Street near Awapuhi Street intersection and in the course of the incident had taken down transmission power lines and telecommunication lines, causing them to arc. Nearby residents reported no electricity following the incident and awaited the arrival of emergency crews to mitigate the hazard and to begin repairs.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HPD Officers immediately closed Kahaopea Street between Kanoelehua Avenue and Pilipa'a Street and also had closed the Northbound lanes of Kanoelehua Avenue between Kawailani Street to Puainako Street due to low hanging wires related to the incident on Kahaopea Street. HFD along with HDOT and HECO Crews worked at the scene to de-energize the electrical lines, begin repairs, and also begin tree removal.
The road closures caused major traffic gridlock on Kanoelehua Avenue, Puainako Street, Kawailani Street, and Railroad Avenue, and multiple HPD Officers were directing traffic at many intersections in the area to help alleviate the congestion caused by the incident. One motorist reported that it took little over half an hour to get through the gridlock from Kawailani Street intersection with Kanoelehua Avenue to the Downtown Hilo area.
HECO officials confirmed approximately 637 customers in the vicinity of the incident were without power and as of 10:00 pm Monday evening, HECO crews were beginning pole installation and said power restoration will be made following the completion of pole and equipment installation.
No injuries or damage to any nearby residents were reported.