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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2004

Nanakuli boulder crashes into home

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

NANAKULI — Firefighters were evacuating 11 homes on Akowai Road early this morning after a boulder rolled down a hillside and hit a house late last night. No one was hurt, fire officials said.

The boulder, about the size of a compact car, hit the rear of the single-story wooden house at 87-1428 M Akowai Road but did not penetrate it. It happened about 11 p.m.

The homes are near the base of Pu'u O Hulu Uka, a hill between Nanakuli and Ma'ili. The area is near Ulehawa Beach Park.

Last night's incident came three days after a boulder rolled down a hillside in Nu'uanu Valley and tore a hole in a house on Henry Street. A 1 1/2-ton boulder barreled out of the tree line, smashed through a corner of the house and came to rest in a patio.

The ground at Akowai Place last night was muddy from recent rain. Deana Hamgoc, who lives next to the house that was hit, said it had been drizzling off and on all night.

Hamgoc said she was home with her family when she heard a loud rumbling.

"I thought it was my kids playing around," she said. Then she saw the boulder against her neighbor's house.

Hamgoc, who has lived there for four years, said she has seen other rocks come down the hill but that last night's was the biggest.

Some of the 39 evacuated residents went to stay with relatives. The Red Cross assisted 20 residents who needed a place to stay.

Another neighbor, Marla Flores, said she was lying in bed when she heard a loud rumbling that she took for thunder. Then she heard a "sliding sound," she said. Then a bang.

Flores said she had noticed a large boulder on the hill and thought "one day, that rock is going to come down." Other rocks up there also appear precarious, she said.

Monday's accident in Nu'uanu happened on Henry Street, the same street where 26-year-old Dara Rei Onishi was crushed to death in 2002 by a 5-ton boulder that tore through her bedroom while she slept.

Onishi's family is suing the owners of the property where they think the boulder originated.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8025.