Fire destroys home of HPD officer, his wife & eight children

Honolulu police officer Seluini Mafi
Honolulu police officer Seluini Mafi
Capt. Rick Karasaki
Capt. Rick Karasaki

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KALIHI VALLEY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A fire at a Honolulu police officer's home in Kalihi Valley Monday left an estimated $450,000 in damages. The officer, who's assigned to the Kapolei police station, has eight children ranging in age from two to 18.

His wife says she was cooking and wrapping Christmas gifts when she heard an explosion. Investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause.

Two-year-old Hevani sat on her mother's lap as firefighters worked to extinguish a two-alarm blaze at their Nihi Street home. It's where Hevani's father and seven older siblings also lived.

"Investigator just classified it as unlivable, so it's probably a complete tear down," Capt. Rick Karasaki, Honolulu Fire Department, said regarding the extent of the damage.

Honolulu police officer Seluini Mafi rushed to the scene, and was relieved to see his wife and Hevani uninjured. The couple's other children were at school.

Saga Mafi says she was cooking chicken in the kitchen and went upstairs to wrap Christmas presents, when she heard a blast. Thick smoke quickly filled the house.

"Good thing nobody get hurt," Seluini Mafi said. "The firemen did a very good job. They responded real fast."

Fire officials say there were portable propane tanks at the house.

"Propane is highly flammable, so fire can increase very rapidly if propane was involved," Karasaki said.

Crews had the fire under control about 20 minutes after the first alarm.

Officer Mafi says it was strange to see an emergency response involving his own family.

"They were ok. That's the most important thing to me was they're fine," the officer said. "The house can be re-built."

"We do the best we can with whoever calls us," Karasaki said. "Of course, police department do good work and we want to do as best we can for them also."

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