It was a close call for an elderly couple when their Kaimuki home went up in flames Wednesday.
The call came in at around 11:20 a.m. from 9th Avenue. By the time firefighters arrived, the home was already engulfed by fire.
The couple was home at the time, but thanks to neighbors, they both made it out alive.
The fire brought neighbors out of their homes. Several told KHON2 they heard loud popping sounds and saw flames and thick smoke coming out of the wooden house.
They say the couple, who they refer to as “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” are usually home during the day. So when they saw the woman by herself, they knew they had to act fast.
“Grandma told me that he’s still inside and I opened the door and I can hear him,” said neighbor Maiko Izon. “He was pounding the door, but I couldn’t see anything inside, so I couldn’t go inside. It wasn’t smart.”
“I just said, ‘Come this way, come out, come out,’ because I tried to go in and it was just, you can’t see. You can’t breathe. It hurts your eyes, it hurts your lungs,” said neighbor Kalei Polihale.
Neighbors say the 89-year-old man finally made it out of the house on his own by following the sound of their screams.
He was woozy and taken to the hospital as a precaution, but is expected to recover. His wife was not hurt.
The fire prompted police to close Maunaloa and Pahoa avenues near 9th Avenue until 1:10 p.m.
On Tuesday, June 16, investigators classified the fire as accidental and determined that it started in an attached storage room when a power strip malfunctioned.
Damages were assessed at $225,000 to the property, $30,000 to the contents, and an additional $5,000 to a neighboring structure.