HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A family is in mourning after a house fire in Pauoa Valley on Monday that killed two people. A family spokesperson told Hawaii News Now that an elderly couple died, but their grandson managed to escape from the burning home. Emergency crews raced to the two-alarm fire on Kekuanoni Place just before noon. 35 firefighters battled the blaze.
"I saw the smoke and I came outside. Yeah, the house was just ablaze," said Pauoa Valley resident Edward Rivera.
"They were able to do both an interior and exterior fire attack. It was reported that it was a defensive fire attack to keep the neighboring exposed structures safe," said Capt. David Jenkins of the Honolulu Fire Department.
Investigators said five people lived in the two-story house. Three of them were home when the flames started. The elderly couple upstairs died, according to a family representative. Their 15-year-old boy grandson, who was downstairs, got out in time and didn't suffer any injuries.
Honolulu fire investigators said the fire was accidental and was caused by smoking and smoking materials.
"At first it was flaming, then afterwards the dark smoke came and appeared and stuff, and later on the fire engines came by and you then could see them shooting the house," said Rivera.
Neighbor Micah Ewing rushed home after a friend called him about the fire, just 10 feet from his house.
"The firefighters were in our yard with the hoses. They looked like they were approaching it from two different directions and just controlling the heat," said Ewing.
Some of Ewing's windows shattered due to the intense heat and his home also suffered water damage.
"Our hearts go out to their families and we feel very fortunate that it didn't cause more damage to our house, but our heart definitely goes out to our neighbors," Ewing said.