Eleven people were displaced and a firefighter slightly injured when fire destroyed two homes and caused damage to a third.
The Honolulu Fire Department said the three-alarm blaze was first reported at 8:18 a.m. at 2323 Lime Street, just a block mauka of Kapiolani Boulevard near Isenberg Street. The cause remains under investigation.
There are three buildings on the property A two-story home was gutted, along with an adjacent Quonset hut where Manuel Paez lived with his family for 15 years. He and his wife were getting ready for breakfast.
"My wife (says to) me, 'You're burning something.' I said no, I never cook yet," said Paez. "My wife says, 'no, I smell smoke.' And when I got to the porch, I saw behind of the house of my landlord, they have a shed. It started over there."
Lynette Laa lives in another building next to Paez. She and her husband were just waking up. "We heard fire trucks, and living near Kapiolani, that's all you hear is fire trucks," she said. "We started hearing more and more, and then we smelled the smoke. So we both jumped out of bed."
Thick smoke poured from the fire over the neighborhood. "The smoke just engulfed both of our apartments, like black smoke," said Laa.
A firefighter was injured when tiles fell off the roof of the two-story building and hit his helmet. "He seems to be okay, but we took him to Queen's, just precautionary, to make sure he's okay," said Honolulu Fire Capt. James Todd.
Todd also said the third alarm was called to keep the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. "The neighbors and all the buildings are really close, so we really have to protect the exposures so it doesn't become really big."
No one else was injured in the blaze. The two-story home and the Quonset hut were considered to be total losses, while the third home on the property sustained just minor damage. The total damage to the homes and their contents was estimated at $500,000.
Paez, his wife and daughters and their dog escaped unhurt but lost almost everything when their Quonset hut went up in flames.
"It's totally toast," said Paez. "It's totally toast, my house."