A man is dead after a three-alarm fire broke out in Makiki Wednesday.
The initial alarm came in at 11:23 a.m. from the Oahuan Tower apartment building on Makiki Street.
“I got to my room to check out what kind of weather is going on and there is smoke everywhere. So I’m like ‘Hey guys. I think there might be a fire in the apartment,’” said resident Mariel Krupia.
“By the time we go out to leave, there was just smoke pouring out of the balcony above,” said Krupia’s friend, Amber Morris.
Fire officials say the fire started in unit 402. Officials say the body of an unidentified man was found in the bedroom, where the fire first sparked.
The Honolulu Fire Department says the man was trapped in his unit and was unable to get out.
Capt. Scot Seguirant called it “a tragedy today. We want the public to do their very best within their circumstances to prepare themselves in case of a fire.”
Everyone else who was home at the time managed to get to safely.
“I grabbed my dog, my cell phone, and backpack, and made it down,” said resident Crystal Sims. “I never thought this would happen in a building I lived in.”
Firefighters had the blaze under control at 11:42 a.m. and fully extinguished by 12:37 p.m.
There is no damage estimate yet, and the cause remains under investigation.
Officials say the building was not equipped with a fire sprinkler system.
Residents say the building’s fire alarm system didn’t go off until a few minutes after firefighters arrived.
“This building is equipped with a fire alarm system that is only activated by a pull station,” said Seguirant. “It doesn’t have an automatic detector that is going to notify the rest of the occupants.”
The American Red Cross tells us a total of four units were damaged, displacing about seven people.
“Of course in Hawaii, with the aloha spirit, our neighboring development has offered us four of their empty units to be used for those families for now, but the Red Cross will help facilitate that because those units are completely empty without any food or anything,” said volunteer Paul Klink.
Klink also lives in the Oahuan Tower, but said he was there on behalf of the Red Cross to help his neighbors who lost everything.