Fire at Kinau Street apartment sends debris crashing below - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fire at Kinau Street apartment sends debris crashing below

Kelsie Misech Kelsie Misech
KD Ting KD Ting
Fallen air-conditioning unit Fallen air-conditioning unit
Capt. Terry Seelig, HFD Capt. Terry Seelig, HFD

By Minna Sugimoto bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A quiet Sunday turned dramatic when flames erupted at a Kinau Street apartment. There were scary moments for neighbors when debris from the burning unit on the fourth floor came crashing onto the pavement below.

Hawaii News Now was on scene moments after the fire broke out at the Kinau Villa at about 1:45 pm. You could see thick, black smoke billowing from the building near Ward Avenue.

"We heard the alarm, the fire alarm, and we thought it was our building so we got kind of scared," Kelsie Misech, witness, said. "So we ran out and then we felt the heat and we looked up and it was like on fire, like big."

The couple inside the one-bedroom apartment where the blaze started managed to escape unharmed.

"I saw a girl come crying and her boyfriend came down," Misech said. "We told him, oh, is that yours, and he's like yeah."

Other Kinau Villa residents also scrambled to get out of the building. KD Ting says he was doing his laundry when he started smelling smoke.

"I thought somebody just cooking, you know, or smoking something," Ting said. "So I was telling my wife, you know, somebody is smoking. It's heavy smoke."

At one point, an air-conditioning unit plummeted from the fourth-floor apartment to a parking lot.

"When I come down here, I just saw the air con explode and then it fell all the way down," Ting said. "That was kind of like a movie, only thing that you would see in the movie."

Firefighters say they were able to keep the flames from spreading to other units.

"We did have two alarms respond, but most of the second-alarm companies were staged and then returned as we were able to handle it with just the initial companies," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said.

The fire left an estimated $125,000 in damages to the main unit. The American Red Cross is offering assistance to the affected couple.

Others were allowed to return to their apartments at about 2:30 pm.

"I just can't believe it happened in our building," Ting said.

A woman in another apartment was treated for difficulty breathing.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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