Educational Company Loses Home Office In Wilhelmina Rise Fire

Kelly Ferreira
Kelly Ferreira

by Minna Sugimoto

WILHELMINA RISE (KHNL) -- Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire that destroyed two homes in East Oahu Monday morning.

A raging fire on Wilhelmina Rise produces thick smoke that can be seen for miles. Bill Myers snaps photos, as two neighboring homes go up in flames.

"Yes, I was scared," he said. "The flames were 50, 60 feet in the sky."

Kelly Ferreira, her sister and a friend manage to escape the burning house on Mariposa Drive.

"I heard the fire alarm. Thank God, they worked," Ferreira said. "And I ran out and I saw the fire. It was really, it was pretty big."

Fire officials say no one's inside the second home. Some 30 firefighters battle the flames.

"The fire was so far advanced when we got here that it was a complete defensive operation," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said.

Many children know Ferreira as Cosmic Kelly. She and her sister run Mad Science of Hawaii, which provides educational activities for kids.

"We have a lot of equipment and chemicals that are kept off-site," Ferreira said. "But our paperwork and our checks and our, you know, trainings and everything are done here."

Now, their client list and booking information are among the rubble.

"Right now, I'm just worried about our customers, the kids because, you know, we can't call them and tell them sorry we can't show up," Ferreira said.

It takes crews three-and-a-half hours to extinguish the stubborn fire.

"I just feel a little guilty that our house burned down, and it affected so many houses near us," Ferreira said.

Damage estimates aren't expected until Tuesday.