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Big fire in South Kona

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

Firefighters responded to a blaze at Paradise Pottery Studio in South Kona near the intersection of Anoi Road and Anoi Place.

Firefighters responded to a blaze at Sacred Grounds Coffee Farm & Paradise Pottery Studio near the intersection of Anoi Way and Anoi Place in South Kona. (Photos and video by Baron Sekiya/

Rianne Capron and her family had their feet kicked right back when the first tell-tale ember floated past Tuesday evening.

“My daughter noticed it first,” said Rianne Capron. “Eventually, the embers were reaching up to 250 feet. They basically went straight up.”

Capron said she knew immediately there was a big problem at Paradise Pottery Studio in South Kona and alerted the Fire Department at 7:30 p.m.

The smoldering pottery studio.

The fire gutted pottery studio.

“I know fires. I was in Oakland for 1989,” she said. “The owners were out to dinner and it was the pottery shed that went up.”

“We were really worried about the chemicals,” Capron said. “Who knows what might be stored there. My husband had to stop me from running down there.”

She said it the time passed slowly until firefighters arrived – the department reports it was 11 minutes between the first alarm and the first engine arriving on the scene.

“It was just in time, but the fire is moving away from us.”

Firefighters hose down the fire scene at Paradise Pottery Studio.

Firefighters hose down the fire scene at the pottery studio building from the Mamalahoa Highway entrance.

“The fire department arrived just before the whole building collapsed. It went up 2 1/2 or 3 stories high, you know how our buildings are built into the side of the mountain.”

Capron said she was especially pleased that the county firemen took the time to protect two chicken coops.

“They were so good about that,” she said. “One got loose, but they chased him down and got him back. That was really good. All the chickens are accounted for.”

The Capron family then went to alert at least three other families. “It could have been so much worse,” she said. “Everything is pretty groovy right now,” she said.

The fire scene in South Kona.

The fire scene in South Kona.

Traffic was halted along Mamalahoa Highway then later limited to the mauka lane as fire engines lined the makai side. Firefighters fought the blaze from the Mamalahoa Highway entrance and the Anoi Place access to the property.

A coffee-drying and process area was on the first floor, and the coffee, crafts and pottery store were on the second floor. The building dated to the 1930s, and the 24’x48′ two-story structure was a total loss.

Sacred Grounds Coffee Farm & Paradise Pottery Studio, owned by Bill and Jane Buckingham, was on Highway 11 between mile markers 109 and 110.

A representative from the Red Cross was on scene but was not needed for residents. No injuries were reported and the Fire Department did not give a loss estimate.

Video by Baron Sekiya/

One Response to “Big fire in South Kona”

  1. Bob says:

    wow thanks for this Baron!! We could hear a lot of noise- sirens etc, but had no clue. Appreciate you being on the spot. Hauoli Makahiki Hou!


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