Family loses home and business to Waimanalo fire

Adi Gelbart
Adi Gelbart

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - There are new details on Saturday's fire in Waimanalo, that left a family homeless. What burned down was more than just a home. It was also a business.

One side of the duplex on Mahailua Street was home base for The Honolulu Soap Company. The owner is a wife and mother, who on Monday, had to sift through what's left of her home, and five years of hard work.

Priceless candids of her three-year-old baby girl are just among the very few belongings Adi Gelbart has left.

A fire reduced everything else to ashes.

"Just coming in here, I had to sit down for a moment and just look at it and just understand what happened," said Gelbart.

For Gelbart, this wasn't just a home, it was the lifeline that helped support her family.

"This was part of the desk that just completely burned down, this was the office area," she said, pointing to what's left of her workspace.

There, she operated her business, The Honolulu Soap Company. Her products are found in various stores across Oahu.

But now, with no renter's insurance, all of Gelbart's equipment, ingredients, and years of hard work are gone. All she has now are a few boxes of products in her van, enough to last only one or two more arts and crafts fairs.

But saving what's left of her company is not what brought Gelbart back to her home.

"Just wanted to see if there was anything salvageable I could get for my baby, some toys I can give her so she feels at home wherever we'll be," she said.

Despite her family's loss, Gelbart says they still have the one thing of most value.

"I'm happy that we weren't here. That's the most important thing really," she said.

The Gelbart's are staying at a hotel the Red Cross put them up in, but it's only good for three days.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters estimate damage at $300,000. Fortunately, no one was home at the time, and no one was hurt.