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Hawaii Fire Department Press Release on Pahoa Town Fire

Photo via Tiffany Rippa

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report: 1116

Type of Incident: Structure Fire

Situation Found at Scene: Smoke and fire coming from the back of Luquins building, adjacent to Akebono Theater. Smoke coming from the windows of Luquins buildings on the Pahoa Village Road side.

Cause: UNDER INVESTIGATION

Remarks: 3 commercial properties, including historic Akebono theater built in 1926, a smaller commercial building from 1938 and a large multiuse residential and commercial building housing Luquin’s restaurant, built in 1907. Fire was brought under control and an extended overhaul and fire investigation ensued until the time of this press release.

Hawaii Civil Defense Message on Pahoa Village Road Closure

Hawaii Police Department reports Pahoa Village Road is scheduled to remain closed between Kauhale Road (Community Center Road) and the area fronting Kaleo’s Restaurant through tomorrow afternoon.

Area residents should expect to smell smoke tonight.

Photo via Tiffany Rippa

Hawaii Fire Department will remain on scene through the night to monitor any flare ups that may occur.

Thank you. This is your Hawai’i County Civil Defense.

Coast Guard, Local Responders Searching for Overdue Diver Off Big Island

Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department are searching for an overdue diver off Pohoehoe Beach, Big Island, Sunday.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew  launched and is searching the surrounding areas. The crew from USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336) is also en route to assist in the search.

The Hawaii Fire Department is also searching with helicopter, rescue boat and ground crews. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.

Anyone with information that may help locate the diver is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

The initial call was made to Hawaii Fire Department by a good samaritan who is an experienced diver. The good samaritan said the man was caucasian, looked to be in his early 20s, about 150 pounds with red hair. He is reportedly wearing blue board shorts and a white rash guard with blue lettering. The man was last seen at 12:40 p.m. leaving the beach to swim out to the farthest rocks with fins, a mask, diving gear and a back up regulator.

The good samaritan watched since the diver was going out alone, did not have a float or any safety gear and noticed, based on experience, the diver only had enough air for a maximum of 80 minutes. After two hours, the good samaritan reported the diver overdue to Hawaii Fire Department who relayed the report to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at 2:11 p.m.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 10 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 6 miles of visibility.

Steve Ueda Named President of Suisan

Steve Ueda will assume the role of president and CEO of Suisan Group, Inc., Suisan Company, Ltd. and Suisan Properties, Ltd. on January 16, announced Glenn Hashimoto, chair of the Suisan board, current president and CEO.

Steve Ueda

Ueda will be Suisan’s eighth president. He is the grandson of Rex Matsuno, the former longtime president, CEO and chairman of the board of Suisan. The board, which includes members of the Matsuno family, carefully considered the succession plan over several years. Hashimoto was instrumental in recruiting Ueda to return from the mainland ten years ago to eventually assume Suisan leadership.

Ueda will take over the 110-year-old food distribution business from Hashimoto, who will stay on as executive advisor. In his new role, Hashimoto will oversee Suisan’s business development and assist with executing the company’s strategic vision.

Ueda has been with the family company since 2007 and held numerous positions including distributor sales representative, buyer, sales manager for the company’s retail market segment, and most recently, vice president of sales.

Steve Ueda, Rex Matsuno, Christine Matsuno (Rex’s youngest daughter), Leslie Ann Sumitani (maiden name Kohashi, Christine’s daughter), and Esther Ueda (Rex’s eldest daughter, Steve’s mother) taken in 1983 at the grand opening of “Super Jumbo 1,” Suisan’s first cold storage warehouse expansion.

“Steve understands Suisan’s mission of making a difference by contributing to the success of our customers,” said Hashimoto. “Over the years, he has applied his analytical skills and data-driven expertise as an engineer to increase operational efficiencies. I am confident that under Steve’s leadership, Suisan will continue to thrive and provide value to the community.”

Ueda, son of Esther Ueda, Rex Matsuno’s first daughter, is a Honolulu native and graduate of the University of Hawaii–Manoa in mechanical engineering. He earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in business administration from University of California–Irvine.

Prior to Suisan, Ueda worked throughout the United States and United Kingdom as a product and systems developer for companies such as Ford, Visteon and Altia Automotive.

“Under Glenn’s leadership, Suisan adapted to the times while remaining competitive and continued the company philosophy of taking care of the customer. Glenn has been a great mentor. As Suisan celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, I am focused on keeping the company relevant and invested in the community. I am deeply humbled to continue the family legacy of leading Suisan,” Ueda said.

Ueda is second vice-president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii, where he also chairs the economic development committee. He is a member of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and Hawaii Food Industry Association, and a community leader for the Blue Zones Project.