HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fire destroyed a Palama area home early Saturday morning, causing $240,000 in damage and leaving 25 people homeless.
The two-alarm fire at 1010 Rawlins Lane, just off North King Street near the Kapalama Canal, was reported at 2:45 a.m., and brought under control an hour later. It was extinguished at 5:47 a.m. Around 35 firefighters from eight fire companies battled the blaze. According to Honolulu Fire Capt. Gary Lum, one structure was gutted by the fire, which also caused major damage to two adjacent homes. The houses are clustered together on the property, which includes a total of nine homes.
Neighbors were awakened by smoke and flames that they say were coming from beneath one of the houses. "Smoke's coming out, and we don't know what's going on, we cannot see the fire when it started," said neighbor Danilo Dela Salas. "And then we tried our best to help, but we cannot do nothing."
"We had to evacuate of course, because the fire department told us, and the police, to keep us safe," said neighbor Christie Lumantas.
"There was smoke already in my room, and my nephew was knocking on the door, (saying) hurry," Lucy Ababa said. "I'm not feeling well because smoke already, yeah? So I get out and I see the fire close over in the window (on the) other side."
Ababa lives on the second floor of the house next door. Her kitchen was completely destroyed. She spent the morning trying to salvage some of her belongings in her bedroom, which suffered some smoke and water damage. "I said, oh my God, my clothes," she said. "I just panicked, because I'm okay, but these are my things, damaged."
Residents said they were scared. "It was very enormous," Lumantas said of the flames. "It was really gray and dark. People were running around with their luggage and their things, and some people were crying, were worried, they didn't know what to do."
Firefighters returned to the scene at around 10 a.m. when the house that was completely destroyed began to smolder.
Red Cross volunteers were at the scene, helping the 25 residents displaced by the flames.
Fire investigators determined that the blaze was the result of a malfunction in a gas water heater. There were no serious injuries, but a dog died in the fire.