Nearly 60 firefighters extinguish ’immense’ 3-alarm blaze at a Pauoa home

Two brothers escape a raging 3-alarm fire, but want an invaluable item back

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A large, three-alarm blaze ripped through a Pauoa home Monday, and took more than four hours for dozens of firefighters to extinguish in near-record heat.

The blaze at 2453C Pacific Heights Rd. started about 2 p.m. Monday ― and wasn’t declared extinguished until after 6 p.m.

Some 15 units staffed with 59 personnel rushed to the scene.

HFD said upon their arrival, they found the three-story home up in flames with the garage fully involved.

An adult male was working in the lower floor of the home when he heard popping noises and woke his brother who was also in the home, HFD said.

The brothers were able to escape unharmed, but said they weren’t able to grab their mother’s urn.

Although the Red Cross is assisting those displaced, one of the brothers said he’d rather sleep in a sleeping bag next to what’s left of his home to be close to his mother.

Firefighters urged them not to climb down to grab it because the rest of the house could collapse.

“There was a collapse. This particular fire is very difficult for firefighters to get underneath what is collapse and get to the seat of the fire. They are working extremely hard," said HFD Capt. Scot Seguirant

Capt. Seguirant said part of the home had collapsed, including the entire garage and the right front corner of the home.

He also said low water pressure in the area initially challenged the firefighters as flames ripped through the structure.

“The fire was so immense, enormous,” said Steve Kealoha, who lives near the home that was destroyed by flames. “It engulfed the whole garage within minutes, then the fire truck came and they took over.”

#LIVE: A fire is burning on Pacific Heights Road in the Pauoa Valley area. DETAILS: http://bit.ly/2JU5gEa #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Monday, May 20, 2019
Firefighters sift through the charred rubble of the home following the fire.
Firefighters sift through the charred rubble of the home following the fire. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

The owner of the home told Hawaii News Now that he’s a painter and stores paint cans and paint thinner in the garage.

Both the owner and his adult brother made it out with no injuries.

Witnesses said the fire started in the home’s garage, and the house was engulfed in flames within minutes. Dark gray smoke from the blaze was visible for miles.

“The fire broke out and the owners were outside just spraying houses down,” said neighbor Landon Ouchi, adding he ran to help spray flames with a garden hose until firefighters arrived.

Witness describes scene of three-alarm building fire in Pauoa Valley area

Resident Jeffrey Carvalho said he was in his living room when he heard a “loud boom,” and then his wife said a neighbor’s home was on fire.

“I came outside and I could see all these flames," he said.

He said the home’s garage was “gone” within 10 minutes.

Firefighters are battling a large blaze in Pauoa. (Image: Aaron Michael Tom/Facebook)
Firefighters are battling a large blaze in Pauoa. (Image: Aaron Michael Tom/Facebook)

At the height of the fire, there was concern that flames could threaten nearby homes in the densely-populated residential community.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any other properties sustained damage.

HFD is investigating exactly what ignited the fire. No damage estimates were available.

HFD added that they don’t know if the home has a working smoke alarm, and it did not have a fire sprinkler system.

Firefighters are battling a fire at a home on Pacific Heights Road. (Image: Rafael Torres/Facebook)
Firefighters are battling a fire at a home on Pacific Heights Road. (Image: Rafael Torres/Facebook)

This story will be updated.

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