Saturday, November 6, 2004

Fire officials yesterday discussed the fire that killed a 19-year-old man and his dog inside this Nanakuli duplex.

Fatal fire likely

A Nanakuli man, 19, and his dog
both died in the Thursday blaze

The house fire that killed a 19-year-old Nanakuli man and his small dog late Thursday apparently started accidentally in the kitchen, according to a preliminary investigation.

The victim, Frank Krzyska Jr., died of thermal burns and carbon-monoxide poisoning, the Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday.

Firefighters found the bodies of the man and his dog lying on the bathroom floor in the back of the small one-story wooden duplex. Firefighters were not aware anyone was inside the home and found them as they worked their way through the house, fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said.

This was the seventh building fire death on Oahu this year, compared with one last year and one the previous year.

Krzyska lived there with his mother and sister, who were not home at the time of the fire.

Fire units were dispatched at 11:49 p.m. to 87-1428 Akowai Road in Nanakuli and arrived within six minutes to find Unit A engulfed in flames, said Tejada.

"The fire was going just like crazy," said neighbor Audrey Bartholomew, 73.

The man in Unit B next door, who is related to Krzyska, woke up, smelled smoke and saw flames. He got his three children, ages 12, 10 and 7, out safely, Tejada said.

Neighbor Joshua Bloomfield, 18, said he tried to help douse the fire using a garden hose. "The fire just keep on going and going," he said.

He and others tried to prevent the fire from spreading to the next duplex.

"We trying to bust down the window and stuff," Bloomfield said. "When we was helping out, we didn't know anybody was inside."

Bloomfield said he and Krzyska were friends since they both attended Nanakuli High School and hung out together. He said Krzyska worked as a mechanic.

Krzyska was also an avid fisherman and diver, who shared his catch with neighbors, Bloomfield said.

"He's a nice boy," Bloomfield said. "We miss him."

Police said Krzyska had arrived home an hour earlier before the fire was reported.

Fire investigators are focusing their investigation in the kitchen, where the fire may have started, said Tejada. The kitchen is at the front of the duplex near the entrance.

Damage to the building was $150,000 and $30,000 to its contents. The American Red Cross assisted the seven people displaced by the fire.

Neighbors said when his mother and sister arrived, they insisted on seeing his body. His mother reportedly fainted after seeing the body, neighbors said.

"So sad," Bartholomew said. "Looked like the sister and him were very close."

The duplex is one of a small cluster of homes against a hillside that has had its share of adversity. In May, a 10-ton boulder slid down the hillside and landed against the home of Donna Navarro.

"All the stuff that's happened has made me upset," Navarro said yesterday.

Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report.



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