PEARL CITY, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Fire Department says an air conditioning unit is to blame for a major fire that destroyed two homes in Pearl City late Saturday.
Firefighters responded shortly after 10 p.m. to the two-alarm fire at Hoohai Street, where they found a two-story house and a neighboring single-story home fully engulfed in flames.
More than 40 fire personnel worked to put out the inferno. Video showed the massive fire tearing through the homes.
It took crews more than an hour to get the flames under control.
HFD said the fire likely started in the two-story house and spread to the neighboring home.
By Sunday afternoon, HFD determined the cause of the blaze was a failure in the air conditioning unit.
“HFD wants to remind the public to follow the manufacture’s recommendations when operating any electrical devices. Generally, this would include plugging an A/C directly into a wall outlet that is on a dedicated circuit and NOT into an extension cord or power strip,” HFD said, in a new release.
The fire was deemed accidental.
“Right now we have a lot of air conditioners being used because of the heat,” HFD Capt. Scott Seigurant said. “So if we can get those air conditioners plugged directly into the wall outlet, that will probably prevent some potential fires.”
A total of 18 people were home at the time and all managed to get out safely.
“Everything is — my home is the front home and it’s totally gone,” said Lisa Koholua, one of the residents displaced by the fire. “My daughter’s house is the next and because all the water or it’s burnt, same with my sister and her family and my mom them. It’s pretty much everything. It’s bad, really bad.”
Allyson Caravallo was also displaced by the blaze.
“The investigators showed us where and how it started and that was just amazing that the fire can start like that and just take your house and everything inside,” Caravallo said.
Flames left behind a charred mess, making the homes unlivable. The American Red Cross is aiding those displaced by the fire.
HFD estimates the total loss for both homes and its contents was more than $1.7 million.
This story will be updated.