HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A raging fire destroyed an abandoned home in Alewa Heights Thursday night. The wooden house is so old and rundown it took just moments to turn into a fireball.
The flames destroyed that house and damaged three other surrounding homes as well as three vehicles.
Even from our rooftop camera, a mile and a half away, the flames looked huge. The thick black smoke towered into the sky toward downtown Honolulu.
The building on fire was an abandoned home on Lolena Street in the worst possible place.
Mary Grace Bimbo, an expectant mother, told us, "I just had to get out of there. Our house is so close to the abandoned house.
Bimbo has more than a house to worry about. With a baby due in March, she's been collecting baby supplies for months.
Almost all of it inside Bimbo's burnt out window. Bimbo expressed, "That's all gone. Everything I have for the baby is in that room, besides the car seat."
Witnesses say there was no chance to save any belongings, as the termite-ridden house erupted in flames.
Within about four minutes of the call, firefighters were on scene and then it took about 45 of them to battle the blaze. Captain Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department said, "Our challenges were to control the fire that was already spread to 3 structures that were adjacent to the house and to confirm that there were no people left inside those houses." Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it took some hustle.
A woman who lives next door, and happens to be Bimbo's cousin, Lisa Tapat, told us, "You get out of our door, it was so hot, my daughter was saying, hot mommy, hot."
Another neighbor, Michelle Kuan said, "We were just thinking where to go because the only exit was where the running smoke was, so we found a little exit on the other side and we just all crawled out of there."
Firefighters had the blaze under control within about fifty minutes, but at last check, it was still smoldering.
The Red Cross is helping the families displaced by the fire. Damages are estimated at around $415,000.
Bimbo is staying with extended family tonight, planning to restart her search for baby supplies, while hoping the little one doesn't come early.