Nanawale home catches fire from candle burning for light

Nanawale home catches fire from candle burning for light
Fire damages Puna man's home.
Fire damages Puna man's home.
Fire damages Puna man's home.
Fire damages Puna man's home.

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Puna man, who was using a candle for light because he's been without power since Hurricane Iselle, escaped serious injury after his Nanawale Estates home was destroyed in a fire overnight.

Hawai‘i County Fire officials say they got the alarm around 3 a.m. and when they arrived at the scene minutes later there was heavy smoke coming from the home and flames shooting through the roof.

The 44-year-old man says he fell asleep with the candle burning. He hasn't has electricity since last week Thursday. He's now staying at the Red Cross emergency shelter at the Pahoa Community Center. He says damage is estimated at around $150,000.

Officials have identified 28 homes that have been significantly damaged by Iselle, most of which was caused by toppled albizia trees.

HELCO representatives confirm 8,000 people are still without power and Hawai‘i Red Cross officials say approximately 500 people don't have running water.

Hawai‘i County Assistance Centers are re-opening Tuesday at noon till 4 p.m. at Community Centers in Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates and Nanawale, as well as the Kalani Retreat Center. Water and ice will be handed out while supplies last. Officials are asking folks to bring a container for ice or water, because bags or bottles may not be available. They're also asking and encouraging those who are able to get to a retail store to do so and leave assistance supplies to those who cannot.

The Pahoa Pool is open for showers and phone charging until midnight and the pool will reopen for swimming during regular hours.

The Red Cross emergency shelter at the Pahoa Community Center is providing meals and a cot to sleep on for anyone displaced by the storm. Folks will also be able to take a shower and charge their phones at any time of the day, however No pets are allowed.

On Tuesday, Red Cross volunteers will be distributing meals as well as batteries, water, work gloves, trash bags, and tarps at Pahoa Community Center parking lot from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and at the Puna Covenant Church in Kea'au from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Officials announced Tuesday morning that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly State Civil Defense, and the County of Hawaii will set up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers (DARCs) to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged when Iselle made landfall.

The DARCs will open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14 and Friday, Aug. 15 at the Pahoa Community Centee and Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at the Mountain View Gym.

Officials say state and county agencies along with not-for-profit, non-governmental agencies will be on site to provide information on available services. This data will help HI-EMA and Hawaii County evaluate whether the criteria for a federal disaster declaration has been met.

For more information on the DARCs, contact HI-EMA at (808) 733-4300 or email


As a reminder, the following County parks are still closed due to storm damage: Hilo Trap & Skeet Range, Isaac Hale Beach Park, Ahalanui Park, and Kolekole Beach Park. All other County parks are open, but officials are asking everyone to exercise caution with so much storm debris still in the area.

View photos of Iselle's impact on Puna from your mobile device by clicking here:

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