Honolulu Fire: Three Killed as Blaze Engulfs Hawaii High Rise

Three people died in a fire that consumed three floors of a 36-storey condominium tower in Honolulu on Friday, city officials said. 

At least five others were injured in the blaze at the Marco Polo high-rise that send thick black smoke pouring out over the city, a month to the day after a deadly tower fire in London. 

Firefighters sprayed water onto the flames from nearby balconies and brought them under control at about 6:30 p.m. local time, fours hours after the fire began, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told reporters. 

"We were all trying to help as much as we could...but there was a fire and you could see it spreading," said 72-year-old resident, Karen Hastings, who was in the building when the fire broke out. 

The blaze began on the 26th floor and quickly spread to the two floors above, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported. There were no immediate reports on what caused it. 

Images posted online showed orange flames raging on several floors and debris falling from windows. 

Fire Chief Manuel Neves told reporters that the building did not have a sprinkler system. Officers were conducting a room-by-room search, a task that could take several hours, he said. 

The Marco Polo apartment building after a fire broke out in it in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 14, 2017.Hugh Gentry

"We don't have any information for us to believe that there are problems with the structure," Neves added. 

The building was constructed in 1971, before the city began requiring sprinkler systems, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper said. 

City officials told the newspaper that if the building had had a sprinkler system, the fire would have been contained to the original unit. 

Emergency responders said they took at least five people to hospital with injuries and a number of others were treated at the scene. 

Evacuees were being accommodated at a nearby park, with volunteers tending them, the Hawaii Red Cross said on social network Twitter. 

The fire forced the closure of a major road in front of the condominium complex, the Honolulu police department said on Twitter. 

In London, at least 80 people were killed when a fire gutted the 24-story Grenfell Tower apartments on June 14. That building also did not have a sprinkler system.