Flames destroy garage in Ewa Beach - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Flames destroy garage in Ewa Beach

Photo courtesy of neighbor, Cheryl Deguzman Photo courtesy of neighbor, Cheryl Deguzman

By Ramsay Wharton

EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the second time in two days that Honolulu firefighters responded to a house fire in Ewa Beach.

The fire broke out in a garage on Puhikani Place at around 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Neighbors say they saw a huge inferno.

"When I look up by the window, I smelled smoke and I said oh my God its fire, fire," said next door neighbor Rusty DeGuzman.

Two dozens firefighters converged on the home and managed to tackle the flames in just six minutes, but by 6:10 a.m. all that was left was charred remnants of the garage of Hawaii's police union leader, Tenari Maafala.

"Basically, my wife had taken a load out of the washer and put it in the dryer and just minutes later she heard a loud pop and opened up the side door and saw flames already so the garage had been pretty much engulfed," Maafala said.

Maafala wasn't there, but his wife and two eldest daughters were. Fortunately, they quickly escaped the home.

His 19-year-old daughter acted quickly by moving the car out of the driveway. The flames were so hot it already started to melt the paint. Then they all ran house to house to alert the neighbors.

"When I heard the commotion, my family got up and looked outside and saw the house starting to go up in flames and then it just got worse, it just took minutes for it to go up, and it was terrible," neighbor Noel Kaholakula said.

Maafala says a lot of memories were kept there including photo albums, his kids' trophies and police equipment issued to him.

Fire investigators are focusing a lot of their attention on the dryer in the back that's where the flames were first reported and nearby neighbors are using this as a learning opportunity to make sure they maintain their appliances.

"The special maintenance of a dryer is that you not only have to clean out the lint trap remove but the ducting that the dryer leads to," said HFD Capt. Terry Seelig. "But the lint itself is very flammable because of its nature."

Fire officials are not sure what sparked the fire.

Damages are estimated at $95,000.

The Maafala family of five will stay with relatives while they salvage what they can.

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