Two-alarm fire destroys Waipahu home


Firefighters battled a two-alarm fire in Waipahu Tuesday.

The call came in at around 1:19 p.m. from Kahualoa Street.

The first Honolulu Fire Department unit arrived two minutes later to find a one-story family dwelling engulfed in fire. Black smoke was visible for miles.

“The flames reached above the house at least 15 feet,” said HFD battalion chief Paul Stankiewicz. “I was responding from Mililani Mauka, and we could see the heavy smoke, just responding from the H-2 (Freeway).”

The fire was brought under control at 1:30 p.m. and fully extinguished by 2:59 p.m.

Twelve people live there and officials say four of them, including a 13-year-old boy, were home when the fire broke out. They were able to escape without injury.

“There was a guy on scene who physically helped them out coming out of the house,” said neighbor Heidi Abitong. “They were running back and forth trying to go inside, so we were telling them to come out and stuff so everyone was safe and sound.”

The home is considered to be a total loss. Damage has been estimated at $400,000 for the structure and $70,000 for its contents.

“There are two storage sheds in the back of the house. Both of them had severe fire damage,” Stankiewicz said. “The whole back end of the house received severe fire damage.”

An additional $5,000 of damage was assessed for a neighboring home.

The American Red Cross has been dispatched to assist the 12 residents who were displaced by the fire.

The fire is under investigation and the cause has yet to be determined, though officials say it appears to have started behind the home, where a propane grill was located.Home video provided by Heidi Abitong.

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