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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 2:03 p.m., Sunday, March 12, 2006
Updated at 5:10 p.m.

Utility poles fall on cars, close Farrington Highway

Advertiser Staff

Farrington Highway in Nanakuli is closed in both directions after 10 or more utility poles fell onto the highway about 1 p.m. today, trapping cars beneath under live power lines.

Officials opened Kolekole Pass shortly after 2 p.m. to provide access to Wai'anae and Makaha.

Police reported that two people suffered minor injuries, and that 17 vehicles were damaged.

Officials said preliminary indications are that severe winds caused the poles topple.

A firefighter said Hawaiian Electric Co. was called to shut off electricity.

Lucien Breault of 'Ewa Villages said he walked the length of the area where the poles had fallen and that it appeared that everyone had gotten out of their vehicles. Breault said electricty had been cut to the area, and that stores were without power.

The incident happened between Haleakala Avenue and Auyong Homestead Road, a witness said.

Nanakuli resident Manu Afong said it appeared that strong winds blew down a utility pole, starting a chain reaction that pulled down other poles. Police initially said five poles were downed. Afong said he could see 10 or 11 poles down. Breault said 10 to 15 poles are down.

"There's no way in or out" of the Wai'anae Coast, Afong said. Side roads were gridlocked with cars, he said.

Bernie Baker, contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing who was at the Buffalo's surf contest in Makaha, said he saw several cars crushed by poles and debris strewn everywhere on Farrington Highway.

“It was like a movie. This was a cross between ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘Earthquake.’” Baker said.