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Thoughts of other high-rise sprinkler systems after Marco Polo blaze

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HONOLULU -

Just as the flames and smoke billowing from the Marco Polo high rise were visible from all around-- the fallout has also spread throughout the community.

Much of the talk has centered on sprinklers and safety. 

Some people living in other buildings without sprinkler systems wonder if it's time to put them in.

Kukui plaza has 908 units but no sprinklers. The plaza did just finish $2.6 million of safety enhancements, including alarms, strobe lights, and overhead speakers.

One resident says he feels good about that, along with some safety pointers.

Sudhakar Satchidanantham is a resident at Kukui Plaza, he said, “They can instruct people what is in the apartment. Ok, a fire comes, what you have to do. So they can have a session, three months, quarterly, whatever it is.”

Harbor view plaza says it has sprinklers in strategic locations like trash rooms, and says its alarm system is effective enough to pin-point a location of where of the fire.

Manager Antonio Vierra says a retrofit sprinkler system would be a massive undertaking.

“It would be a burden on many of the buildings. The smaller ones would suffer a great deal. You’re talking millions of dollars to have this stuff installed. You’re in Hawai’i, the cost of labor is really high, cost of materials, expertise installing stuff. It’s a tremendous burden on the association if they were forced to do this,” said Antonio Vierra.

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