Legendary surf family loses their home to flames, but their spirit remains unshakable

Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 5:00 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A legendary surf family lost their home to flames Tuesday night in Hawaii Kai, but their spirit remains unshakable.

The Summer Street property in Kuliouou Kai went up in flames just before 8 p.m.

Tammy and Tony Moniz escaped unharmed with their dog. “Everything was charred and burnt. The roof came down,” said Tammy Moniz.

She says she saw the fire before the smoke alarm ever went off.

She alerted her husband who was half asleep on the couch. Tony Moniz grabbed a fire extinguisher, but when he squeezed the lever it didn’t work.

“It did start in the garage,” he said. “Within minutes, it was a towering inferno.”

Twelve hours later, the sidewalk outside their home was packed with people ― and a pastor. But the purpose of his visit wasn’t the obvious.

“We were scheduled to do an interview,” said Tim Savage. “Tammy was going to tell us her God story. Sharing the good and the bad of her journey.”

That story was to air Easter Sunday at Christ Centered Community Church.

Savage offered to reschedule. But Tammy Moniz decided to go ahead with the shoot anyway.

“This is the time to do it,” she said. “There’s many years that I’ve gone through life and felt like my house was burning. Not literally. But inside myself.

“Through those storms, God always remained faithful.”

Of the few possessions that were salvaged from the flames: Her Bible.

“This just brought so much comfort to me,” Tammy Moniz said.

A pair of trophies dating back to the early 80s from the Duke Kahanamoku Classic were also saved.

“Twenty-four surfers get invited each year,” said Tony Moniz. “As a young child growing up I always wanted to get into the Duke Classic. Which wasn’t easy to do. It was the world tour to me. That was my goal.”

The Monizs have been in the home for three generations ― through the surfing careers of Tony Moniz and their five children. The family also runs the Faith Surfing School in Waikiki.

While it’s hard to understand the “why” behind what happened, it’s the Moniz ohana’s faith that guides them, knowing the memories made in their home aren’t lost.

“The memories don’t stay with the house,” said Tammy Moniz. “The memories stay in my heart and their hearts.”

Tony Moniz says the family will rebuild. HNN asked what they needed in the meantime. He said, “prayers.”

Investigators still haven’t released the cause of the fire.

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