Cause of Suisan fire still undetermined


The cause of a May fire at Suisan’s office building is still undetermined.

The fire, which erupted the night of May 16, destroyed the 16,000-square-foot building located at 1965 Kamehameha Ave., where about 5,000 square feet was used to store dry and frozen goods.

Glenn Hashimoto, president and CEO of Suisan Company Ltd., said the cost of the damage is being assessed.

“Insurance adjusters are doing that part right now,” he said. “They started about a week and a half ago, and … they’re still working on it.”

Following the fire, Suisan moved 40 employees to a temporary office space in the Ben Franklin Building on Kilauea Avenue. Hashimoto said the incident did not affect the company’s sales and distribution department, and employees are settling into their new environment.

“We’re slowly getting back on our feet,” he said. “The distribution part of it didn’t experience any problems with that part, more on the office administrative side.”

Hashimoto, who replaced longtime president Rex Matsuno in January, said the 106-year-old company that employs 175 people on the Big Island is trying to get back to business as usual.

“Working from a remote location can be very challenging, but we’re beginning to settle in,” he said. “In a matter of weeks, we’ll be back on our feet.”

As for future development plans, Hashimoto said he has a few things in mind, but could not comment until after the damage assessment is finished.

“A temporary location is just that — temporary. As far as rebuilding, (it) depends after the insurance adjusters finish their work,” he said. “We have some thoughts, but it depends on the outcome of the adjuster and then we’ll have a clearer idea of what direction we’re going.”

Hawaii Fire Department officials ruled out arson last month. The fire department said the cause might be determined later with more information, but for now the case is closed.

Email Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaiitribune-herald.com.