EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire that heavily damaged an Ewa Beach town home building.
The Honolulu Fire Department said the blaze was reported at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in a building in the Arbors, a gated town home community off Kolowaka Street near Ford Weaver Road.
Responding crews first saw fire coming from unit, with flames then spreading to a second unit, and then a third. In all, four units were heavily damaged.
Ben Nary was watching television when the blaze broke out. He said he first heard a thump, and then his smoke alarm went off.
"When I ran out into the garage the flames were going up the walls already," said Nary. "So I went to grab my extinguisher, but the flames had engulfed the walls and were in the ceiling already."
"I was sitting right here on my lanai when I saw the smoke and heard small explosions," said Shellie Vaught, whose town house is a few doors down from Nary's. Her unit smelled of smoke, but otherwise escaped damage.
"I made it out to the back porch, turned on the garden hose and then I started shooting water, and then I started yelling, 'Everybody get out, everybody get out!,'" recalled Nary.
Fire crews were able to control the fire shortly after 10 p.m.
On Sunday, investigators went through Nary's first-floor, two-bedroom town house, which was completely destroyed. Nary believes it may have started in an area of his garage where he had been charging batteries for his remote-controlled airplanes.
"I've been doing this seven years with electrics and I've never had this problem," he said.
Four families with a total of ten people were displaced by the fire, authorities said. The American Red Cross, which had initially assisted the families, said they are now staying with other friends or relatives. In the case of the Nary family, they are staying with another nearby neighbor.
The family also is missing two cats. They've left out some food and water in the yard in the hopes that they made it out safely and will return. Vaught is taking care of a third cat, which got out of the Nary's unit unhurt.
"Right now I'm trying to take care of their cat, George," said Vaught. "I don't know what else we can do for them. They just lost everything. Memories, everything."
Damage is estimated at $680,000.