WAILUKU, Maui — The former owner of two Maui golf courses is suing Alexander & Baldwin for damage sustained in a cane fire on Sept. 16, 2003, that burned out of control for several days, blackening more than 700 acres in Waikapu.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in 2nd Circuit Court by HFJ Makua Inc. and HFJ Waikapu Inc. said the fire was set by A&B's Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. as part of a scheduled burn in a field adjacent to the Grand Waikapu Country Club. Winds spread the flames, with the fire "raging out of control for more than three days," the complaint states.
Maui Fire Department crews and heavy equipment from private companies battled the blaze along with helicopters making water drops.
The fire caused extensive damage to 70 percent of the country club's golf course, according to the lawsuit. The neighboring Sandalwood Golf Course lost business when it had to close for several days because of hazards caused by the fire, heavy smoke and firefighting equipment. The lawsuit did not provide an estimate of losses.
At the time, both properties were listed for sale, the lawsuit said. The golf courses were bought in July 2004 for less than the listing price.
A&B officials had not seen the lawsuit yesterday and would not comment.