EXCLUSIVE: Single mom talks about house fire and outpouring of A - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Single mom talks about house fire and outpouring of Aloha

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Rachel Marrero was asleep Sunday morning. She was startled awake by her sons' screams. Her house was on fire and filling with smoke.

"As soon as I opened up my son's door, that's when my house completely went in flames," she said.

Two of her sons were with her, but only one came out, so she went back into the flames. Her frightened seven-year-old was hiding in one of the rooms.

"I came out of the house, not knowing he was still in there," she said. "I had to go back in and save my son."

Neighbors tried to douse the fire. Firefighters put it out. The damage is estimated at $130,000 -- a total loss. The single-story wooden home on Mohihi Street meant everything to Rachel and her late husband, Antonio.

"It was our dream," she said. "We had kids. We got married. We bought a house.".

What money can't buy is the Aloha now being showered on the Marrero family. Someone posted a note on the gate outside their burned home, offering assistance. Friends and total strangers have given Rachel and her three sons clothing, food and toys. It's Christmas in the midst of tragedy.

"I'm so overwhelmed with the help, the love, the support, everything that's coming to me. I never expected it," she said.

The blaze started because one of her sons was playing with a lighter. She's correcting the wrong, and moving on.

"I'm going to work with him, and I'm going to make sure he's okay," she said.

Rachel, 35, was burned on her left shoulder. Her oldest son had minor burns to his abdomen. But the family is alive and grateful for the kindness of individuals, families and organizations like K-Mart, the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross, Kamehameha Schools and Gold Coast Realty.

"Thank you to everybody that's helping us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We appreciate everything," she said.

Rachel hasn't been back to the house since Sunday's fire. She's not ready to see it yet, but she does say that this loss is also a new beginning.

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