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Kupuna go hands-on with fire safety

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing resident Jana Yates creates a rainbow while fighting a training fire as DJ Higashi and Mike Thompson of the Kaua‘i Fire Department watch Friday in Kalaheo.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    From left, Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing residents Atlee Austin-Taylor, Mirian Pearson and Malcolm Tam are hands-on with fire extinguishers while listening to the fire-safety presentation as Mike Dandurand, standing, Mark Development property manager, listens Friday in Kalaheo.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    DJ Higashi of the Kaua‘i Fire Department watches as Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing resident Tavita Laamole goes low to the base of the training fire Friday in Kalaheo.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing resident Malcolm Tam shoots one of the expired fire extinguishers Friday to give residents of the 27-unit elderly-housing project in Kalaheo an idea of what happens when an old extinguisher is used to fight a fire.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mike Dandurand of Mark Development distributes a fire extinguisher to Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing resident Miriam Pearson as Atlee Austin-Taylor gets familiar with her unit Friday in Kalaheo.

KALHEO — Fire safety is of utmost import at the Harry &Jeanette Weinberg Hale Kupuna Elderly Housing project in Kalaheo, said Mike Dandurand, a property manager with Mark Development.

“This is especially important for Hale Kupuna because it was built before the current safety codes were put in place,” Dandurand said. “There’re no sprinklers built in.”

Due to the unknown age of the fire extinguishers in the 27-unit project, Dandurand coordinated an exchange so each of the units, and the unit occupied by the live-in maintenance, have new, individual fire extinguishers.

The larger extinguishers located outside the residential units in the common area are checked annually and replaced as needed, Dandurand said.

He further coordinated a training session with the Kaua‘i Fire Department where, in addition to being presented the basics of fighting a blaze, instructors Mike Thompson and DJ Higashi spoke on basic fire safety, or what to do while waiting on the arrival of the firefighting team.

The presentation was further enhanced by residents being given the opportunity for hands-on firefighting with the use of the KFD training extinguishers and flame unit under the supervision of Thompson and Higashi, leaving residents who attended with a heightened level of assurance knowing that the KFD Kalaheo fire station is minutes away, and the confidence of knowing how to use their new tools.

Dandurand said that, in addition to the Harry &Jeanette Weinberg Hale Kupuna Heritage Homeelderly housing project in Kalaheo, Mark Development also does property managements for Pa‘anau Village, and Pa‘anau Village, Phase 2 in Koloa, the Lihu‘e Theater senior apartments, Lihu‘e Gardens, and Koa‘e Makana affordable rental housing in Koloa.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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