HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Fire Department concluded an investigation involving a two-alarm fire that affected two homes on Hoohai Street in Pearl City on Saturday night, July 6.
Officials determined that the fire was accidental and was caused due to a failure in an air conditioner.
The incident happened just after 10 p.m.
The HFD responded with 12 units with 42 personnel.
A number of people who were home at the time managed to escape with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They came back to the devastation Sunday, heartbroken but grateful they all survived.
By the time firefighters arrived the massive fire on Hoohai Street consumed two houses.
“When we came out, the second house, the closer one, was in a full blaze. We didn’t think there were two houses. We just thought it was one house,” said Brandee Doi who witness the blaze go up.
Fire officials say the fire started in this two-story house on a property where 16 family members lived together.
“Memories just memories down the drain,” said Elijah Koholua who lived in the home.
Officials say the wind helped fan the flames to the house next door, where Eric and Joyce Mimura called home.
“We lived in the house for almost 50 years and there’s a lot of accumulations of treasures in there,” said Joyce.
Just before the fire broke out, many of the victims were home. Koholua tells us he spotted flames in a room where the air conditioner caught fire.
“When I opened the door, I made sure my parents were not inside the room so I was yelling mom dad, mom dad and I just started getting scared. Everybody ran out,” said Koholua.
“She said eh it’s burning. So I went out there I got the hose and I started shooting and nothing happened,” said Eric.
“Our house we lost everything that’s where the fire started so everything we had was gone,” said Dominique Braswell, who was home at the time of the fire.
“This is the only thing we got,” said Eric as he points to his shirt.
But in the rubble, treasures emerged.
“The one thing mom wanted was her wedding ring because it has the most sentimental value to her,” said family member Valerie Mimura.
“Everything else was burned down, but that jewelry box was sitting there and it’s still in there,” said Joyce.
A few precious scrap books and photo albums were also salvaged.
The road to recovery may be long and uncertain. For Koholua and his family, they’re thankful for any donations.
“Diapers for the kids,” said Braswell.
“The smallest things mean everything,” said Braswell’s relative Elton Nash.
Honolulu Fire officials say in the house where the fire started, there were smoke alarms that weren’t working. Officials say the second home did not have smoke alarms, but the family tells us they did have a security alarm system that went off because of the fire.
The fire was later extinguished at 12:43 a.m.
HECO was notified and secured power to the structure.
Red Cross is assisting all 18 displaced occupants.
The damage estimate for the two-story home is $1.2 million to the structure and $50,000 to the contents.
The damage estimate at the one-story home is $535,000 to the structure and $35,000 to its contents.
The total damage estimate for both residences is at $1.7 million to the structures and $85,000 to their contents.
The HFD wants to remind the public to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when operating any electrical devices.
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.
The HFD will continue to advocate for fire sprinklers in buildings. It is the most effective way to protect your property and safeguard lives from a fire.
To help the families displaced, click here.
To help the Mimura, click here.