AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man in his 60s was seriously injured in a fire that destroyed a Honomanu Street home in Aiea. And he may have a passing motorist to thank for saving his life.
The fire began just before 2 p.m. in what was described as a rental cottage at 98-132 Honomanu Street. Crews arrived in seven minutes, and had the blaze under control in another five minutes, said Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig. "Witnesses reported it started near the back of the structure and grew rapidly," he said.
Lloyd Manamtam had just had lunch with his wife and happened to be driving by just as the fire began. He said he was the only one nearby, so he parked his car and ran to two houses on the lot. He knocked on the doors of a larger house that was undamaged, and then went to the back of the cottage before he was engulfed in the growing smoke. He was near the front of the cottage when he heard something.
"I kept hearing noise from a person in the house. And as I was coming out of that section right by the van, I saw a body to my left and I didn't know, so I grabbed him, and I just kinda threw him," Manamtam said. "We both stumbled, basically, down the driveway."
The man was conscious, but injured. "He said, 'No, I'm not hurt,' but his hands were clearly burned. His head was burned," said Manamtam.
The man was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Manamtam himself was treated for smoke inhalation. He said he doesn't consider himself to be a hero.
"I like to hope that if there was smoke coming out of my house, that some good Samaritan would come and at least -- not to risk their life, but to knock on the doors among the neighbors. I mean, that's what aloha is all about, yeah?," he said.
Damage to the home and its contents is estimated at $70,000. The cause is still being determined.