UPDATE – (10 p.m.) – A Hawaiʻi County Fire Department news release had more information on Friday evening. The source of the gas leak was a commercial Propane tank at Kawaihae harbor, approximately 5,000 gallons (36000 GVW) in size, rapidly venting from a relief valve. Officials reported high temperatures and “light winds blowing the gas towards the busy highway direction.”
Harbor workers and civilians were evacuated at least a half mile in all directions. Hawaiʻi Police assisted with traffic control and blocked Highway 19 and Highway 270.
The cylinder stopped venting after 50 minutes. The HAZMAT company “made entry and checked for signs of gas accumulation and to make sure the atmosphere was not within any flammability ranges,” the fire department said.
No fire or injuries were reported. The cause of the propane valve leak is under investigation.
(BIVN) – On Friday evening, emergency officials announced a number of road closures due to a hazardous materials incident. The roads were open as of 3:18 p.m.
Here are the updates we have received, with the most recent update listed first:
3:28 p.m. (Civil Defense message) “Hawaiʻi Fire Department reports all roads are open in North Kohala. The propane tank is no longer leaking and the propane hazard has dissipated.”
3:18 p.m. (Police alert) “The Hawaiʻi Police Department advises that Kawaihae Road between Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and the Akoni Pule Highway intersection is now OPEN. Thank you for your patience as your public safety team worked to mitigate this hazardous situation. Please drive safely.”
3:10 p.m. (Police alert) “The Hawai’i Police Department advises that Kawaihae Road between Queen Kaahumanu Highway and the Akoni Pule Highway intersection is CLOSED. Akoni Pule Highway is also CLOSED from Kawaihae Road to the Maluokalani Street intersection. This is due to a hazardous materials incident being handled by the Hawai’i Fire Deparment. Expect the closure to last for at least two hours. Updates will be sent as needed.”
3:03 p.m. (Civil Defense message) “Hawaii Fire Department reports Highway 270 (aka as Akoni Pule Highway) is closed between Queen K Highway (aka Highway 19) and the Haei Hana II Industrial Area due to a leaking propane tank. All travel between North and South Kohala must use the Kohala Mountain Road (aka Highway 250).”
2:39 p.m. (Police alert) “The Hawai’i Police Department advises that Kawaihae Road from Spencer Beach Park entrance to the Akoni Pule Highway intersection is CLOSED. This is due to a hazardous materials incident being handled by the Hawai’i Fire Deparment. Expect the closure to last for at least two hours. Updates will be sent as needed.”