On June 18th, AHA members visited the Honolulu Fire Museum and were given an excellent tour of the facilities while learning more about the history of firefighting in Hawaiʻi by Captain Kevin Mokulehua and his staff. The museum is located at the former site of the historic Kakaʻako Fire Station, built in 1929, and is next door to the Honolulu Fire Dept.’s new headquarters building, which was completed in 2006. The Honolulu Fire Dept. was established in 1850 by King Kamehameha III, and King Kalākaua was an active member of Hawaiian Engine Company No. 4, an all-Hawaiian fire company formed in 1861. The museum does have a small archives, but it was not ready for us to view. Nevertheless, we did see some great photographs and documents from the Fire Dept. that were on display in the museum. Check out some highlights below:
Engine Company No. 4 was originally an all-Hawaiian Company fire station. This image on display at the fire museum depicts the station draped in black bunting after the passing of King Kalākaua in 1891.
HFD Accounting Book, 1892-1893
HFD log book, opened to the infamous date of Dec. 7, 1941. To this day, in keeping with tradition, each station of the Honolulu Fire Dept. keeps a daily hand-written log.
Capt. Mokulehua describing the Gamewell fire alarm system used by the Honolulu Fire Dept. from 1903-1979. Pull boxes placed in each neighborhood were connected to all fire stations and used to contact the fire dept. via an alarm gong that would identify the location of the box.
This photo shows the card catalog system the fire dept. used to determine which station would be dispatched to the fire, depending on its location.
Mahalo nui to Captain Mokulehua and the other firefighters for an excellent tour of the museum!
The Honolulu Fire Museum is open to the public for free guided tours every third Saturday of every month. Go to their website to reserve a spot on the tour.