Investigation into Moiliili apartment fire continues

Investigation into Moiliili apartment fire continues

MOILIILI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked a fire that severely burned a Moiliili man. The victim's sister stopped by the charred apartment on Wednesday. She declined to be interviewed, but told neighbors that the family is taking it hour by hour with her brother in the hospital.

The fire at Kaualana Manor I on Tuesday night destroyed the apartment directly above Karen Umeda's unit.

"It was pretty scary and pretty big, you know. It was quite a large fire," said the Moiliili resident. "The fire was going upward and not down, but I was concerned about water damage and smoke damage."

Fire investigators returned to the building a day after the fire to look for clues in the victim's one-bedroom apartment. Neighbor Calvin Silva was one of two men who pulled the victim out of his burning home.

"We kicked the door in. We shot another fire extinguisher in there. Needed a light. I ran to my apartment which was right next door. We got a big flashlight. We shined it. He was lying in the hallway. We dragged him out," described Silva.

Silva identified his neighbor as Glen Doike. Medics took the victim, who is believed to be in his 60's, to Straub Hospital in critical condition with severe burns.

"If somebody is in there, he has gotta get out. You've gotta make every effort to help," said Silva.

The water used to douse the flames caused some damage to nearby units. Umeda's ceiling is now leaking.

"When I came into the kitchen then the floor was all wet, half an inch to an inch of water so then I had to sop it up," said Umeda.

The complex went up before a 1975 law requiring sprinklers in newly-built high-rise buildings. According to authorities, a 2004 study found that roughly 300 residential high rises in Honolulu did not have sprinkler systems. A push at that time to retrofit older buildings got shelved.

"Good idea, but cost wise, I'm not sure if people would be able to afford it," Umeda said.

Investigators plan to return to the apartment on Thursday. There is no damage estimate yet.