Elderly Man Dies in House Fire

Captain Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department
Captain Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department

KALIHI (KHNL) - A house fire in Kalihi claims the life of an elderly man.

Honolulu fire department officials say despite firefighters' quick response, they were not able to save the man in time. The first firefighters got to the scene in just three minutes.

Firefighters clean up after a fire rips through the back of the house on Pohaku Street in Kalihi.

You can see the damage from the outside, but what you can't see, is the tragedy inside.

"We're sorry to say that the one resident that was trapped inside was a fatality," said Capt. Terry Seelig, of the Honolulu Fire Department.

The victim is said to be in his 90's. He is one of three family members home when the fire started.

"It was a lot of smoke," said Jaren Bonilla, a neighbor who was on his balcony when the fire started. "It was thick, very thick."

"I yelled to my mom, hurry call 911 because the flame," said Bonilla.

Bonilla says he used to see the elderly man at the bakery pretty often, but recently, he had a hard time getting around.

Fire officials say despite the difficulty, the two others at home did try to help.

"They weren't able to get to the back of the structure due to the amount of smoke," said Seelig. "They had a smoke alarm with them, they called for help, the tried to rescue him, they did all the right things."

But sadly, it still wasn't enough. A family of seven lived at the home. The red cross is helping the survivors.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials say it started in the back bedroom, where the victim was.