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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blaze destroys 3 classrooms at Kahului Elementary

Advertiser Staff

Fire gutted three classrooms at Kahului Elementary School early Sunday, forcing officials to scramble for space and supplies for displaced teachers and students, the Maui News reported.

The fire, reported at 12:57 a.m. Sunday, also affected a fourth classroom that sustained minor fire, smoke and water damage. A fifth room had no damage but was left with a smoky smell.

Yesterday morning, about 125 third- and fourth-graders and their teachers were moved to other classrooms on campus.

"There's nothing left in these rooms," Principal Fern Markgraf said Sunday afternoon as an acrid smell of smoke hung in the air and she fought tears while looking at the three charred classrooms in "G" Building. "Nothing left."

Amy Nakashima, chairwoman of the third-grade level at the school, lost everything in the classroom she had used to teach children for most of her 27-year career.

"I nearly flipped," Nakashima said. "I've never seen anything like this."

Acting Fire Battalion Chief Rory Macadangdang said losses were estimated at $450,000 to the building and $50,000 for the contents.