Fire destroys Kalihi home, 8 homeless - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fire destroys Kalihi home, 8 homeless

Source: Daniel Murata Source: Daniel Murata
KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Eight people are homeless after a fire destroyed their Kalihi home early Sunday morning. The fire broke out on 1819 Houghtailing Street around 12:50 a.m.

The flames damaged two structures on the property as well as a few cars. Neighbors called 911 just and tell us they couldn't believe what they were seeing and how close the flames were getting to their homes.

With his house just two doors down, Brent Hamasaki recalls what seemed like a nightmare.

"It was pretty intense, pretty scary, we got up and my sister came in saying the house is on fire and I was like what's going on," said Hamasaki. "We came outside and the fire was already full blown raging. We could feel the heat from one lot away. It's unreal, I stayed up on the roof for a little over an hour trying to keep the water there and make sure none of the embers were catching fire."

Hamasaki says the flying embers were as large as post-cards and were landing on his roof. While he shot down his house with a water hose, his son shot home video of their neighbor's home engulfed in flames.

"Just as the fire crews got here I mean within 30-seconds, that thing just went," said Hamasaki. "I mean the whole building was engulfed, it was so quick, even if the fire department got here a minute earlier, I don't think it would have helped, it was just that intense."

Fire officials say that two women, an 18-year-old man, and three children were in the front house when the blaze broke out in the kitchen. Two of them escaped through the front door, but the remaining four had to find another way out.

"As the 18-year-old and the adult went out through the front door, they went around the house to the rear bedroom window to help the other family members out of the house," said Captain Carlton Yamada.

One person living in the back house also escaped unharmed. Crews had the fire under control by 2 a.m. The flames were contained to the property and no one was hurt, but some neighbors are still shaken.

"Until now, I'm still scared because I can't imagine the fire was so big," said Alona Pagdilao.

Damage is estimated at $170,000 for the main house and $50,000 to the studio.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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