Police auto accident short circuits Waianae family

Police auto accident short circuits Waianae family

WAIANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) - Everything that was in Randy and Keala Gomes' kitchen is now toast.

The Waianae family of five lost most of their modern day comforts ten days ago when a Honolulu police officer accidentally ran his patrol car into a utility pole on Lualualei Homestead Road. The car caught fire. The collision with the pole triggered an electrical surge that zapped the Gomes' air conditioner, washer and dryer.

"When I went to turn on the washer it didn't go on," Keala Gomes said.

Nearly every appliance was fried, including the freezer, fridge and oven. Their $24,000 solar water system that slashed their electricity bill is now useless.

"We opened it and the solar lights were all off," she said.

Spots where the kitchen appliances once stood are now empty spaces. Since the accident August 13, they haven't been able to cook in their kitchen.

The family hoped to get help from the city or Hawaiian Electric, after all, they were just innocent bystanders.

"The only answer they had was that I had to make a claim and they have to investigate," Gomes said.

She estimates the power spike caused more than $30,000 damage to her appliances and electrical items. Many of the outlets in the house are so singed she's afraid to plug in anything.

A HECO spokesman said the company evaluated the Gomes' claim and advised them to pursue it with the city.

Keala said she's "very disappointed, aggravated and upset."

Especially upsetting is the bill they have to pay to get back on their feet -- $500 to their insurance company and increased premiums over something they had no control over. That's why they feel burned.

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