A Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) Volunteer Firefighter was serious injured at a brush fire flare-up near Whittington Beach Park in Honu'apo, Ka'ū on the afternoon of Friday, September 3rd.
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) responded to a report of smoke sighted possible brush fire near Whittington Beach Park inHonu'apo in Ka'ū Friday afternoon (September 3rd).
The initial call came in at 1:32 pm Friday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Pāhala and Na'alehu Fire Stations along with Volunteers from the Na'alehu Station responded to the scene located off of Highway 11 (Māmalahoa Highway) near Whittington Beach Park in Honu'apo, Ka'ū.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in from bystanders reporting grey smoke was visible and coming within the old brush fire burn area in Honu'apo near Whittington Beach Park, approximately 100 yards in from the shoreline. High winds in the area at the time of the report, was pushing the smoke to the southwest.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD Crews investigated the area and found a 50-foot x 50-foot area burning within the old burn area and immediately worked to contain the fire from spreading further. Due to the location of the fire, HFD Crews had utilized 4x4 vehicles to reach the fire scene.
In the course of extinguishing the fire, a volunteer firefighter (described as a female in her 50s) at the scene had fallen into an open hole (or an apparent old imu) within the burn area and suffered multiple burns. Following the incident, HFD personnel immediately extricated the injured volunteer firefighter to an awaiting HFD Medic at the scene. HFD Medic then transported the injured firefighter to the Ka'ū Hospital for further medical treatment, where she has since been transferred to a trauma burn center on Oahu for further treatment of her injuries.
According to HFD Officials, the volunteer firefighter had fallen waist-deep into the underground imu and was unable to get out on her own due to also suffering burns on her arms. Firefighter to be extricated by the on-scene HFD Fire Captain and other personnel following the incident. The firefighter had suffered second and third-degree burns to approximately 50 to 60% of her body.
HFD officials are urging the members of the public to stay out of the area due to the underground hazard that is present at this location and working with DPW officials to fence the area off and posting warning signs since multiple members of the public had also similar incidents to the firefighter and had to be taken to the hospital for burns as well over the past five months.
The injured volunteer firefighter, who was identified by numerous family members, friends, colleagues (including some of our HIRSC Moderatoring Team) as Lizzy Stabo. A veteran and also very seasoned Volunteer Firefighter for the Hawaii Fire Department, has served the Ka'ū (South Hawaii) Community for many years and responded to many emergencies all over the Island of Hawaii. This time, she needs our help. A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help with covering expenses related to medical treatment and recovery.
Stay Strong Lizzy, the Island of Hawaii Community will continue to pray for you and a speedy recovery, we can't wait to see you back in the field.