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State roundup for February 12

Oxygen tanks blamed in blast

HONOLULU (AP) — Oxygen tanks are being blamed for a house explosion over the weekend.

When the tanks exploded Sunday morning it caused an inferno in a single-story house in the Wahiawa neighborhood.

The oxygen tanks were being stored for medical purposes.

No neighbors or firefighters were injured by the fire or subsequent explosions. Officials say a father and a son who lived in the house were not home at the time.

Sub’s chief let go after crash

HONOLULU (AP) — The commanding officer and executive officer of a Pearl Harbor-based submarine have been relieved of duty a month after the periscope on the USS Jacksonville collided with a vessel in the Persian Gulf.

Cmdr. Christy Hagen, spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s submarine force, says Cmdr. Nathan Sukols and Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Allen were relieved after a disciplinary hearing in Bahrain on Sunday.

Hagen cited a lack of confidence in the pair’s leadership, but gave few details. Both have been assigned to administrative duties.

On Jan. 10, the Jacksonville hit a vessel that kept moving and showed no signs of distress afterward. A periscope was damaged, and has since been repaired.

The Navy couldn’t determine the boat’s purpose or country of origin before it moved on. No one was injured.

Surfer dies amid dangerous surf

HONOLULU (AP) — Police say a 64-year-old surfer has died amid dangerously high surf on Kauai.

Kauai police said on Sunday that Richard Proczka of Kilauea drowned in Hanelei Bay. They say he’s the island’s fifth ocean drowning of 2013.

On Saturday at about 5:45 p.m., Proczka’s friends noticed his surfboard had drifted to shore but he was nowhere in sight. They called for help after searching for him for about 30 minutes.

A helicopter spotted Proczka about 200 yards offshore, and lifeguards on jet skis pulled him to shore, where he was pronounced dead.

Neonatal care center will open

HONOLULU (AP) — Tripler Army Medical Center is opening a new neonatal intensive care unit this week.

Thursday’s ceremony is coming after nearly two years of renovations at the Hawaii military hospital. The medical center says the unit has state-of-the-art technology to keep babies in a womb-like environment.

The walls, floors and ceilings have soundproof material to ensure sound levels are at neonatal standards.

The center says the rooms provide an optimal environment for babies’ hearing, growth and overall development.

The unit is the first of its kind on Oahu. It’s also the first of its kind for a Department of Defense facility.


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