Ewa Beach man found dead after house fire
Police are searching for the stepson of Robert Ramos
Police are investigating the death of an Ewa Beach man whose body was found in his home after a fire yesterday morning.
Authorities could not immediately identify the victim, but neighbors said the man was Robert Ramos, who was in his 50s and had moved to the home about a year ago.
Detectives, who interviewed several witnesses and neighbors, were looking for the victim's stepson last night, said Lt. Bill Kato of the Honolulu police homicide detail.
According to witnesses, one of Ramos' two stepsons, who is in his 20s, got into an argument with him and allegedly fled the scene shortly before the fire was noticed.
"We start every fire death as a potential homicide," Kato said, adding that investigators have not found any evidence indicating the fire was intentionally set. "Sometimes it takes a little bit more to find the evidence in the fire because the fire destroys a lot."
Fire crews were called to 91-623 Kilipoe St. at 10:07 a.m. and found the single-story, three-bedroom house engulfed in flames.
Neighbors and a Board of Water Supply crew who were in the area tried to get into the house to help anyone who was inside. They broke windows, knocked down the front door and began hosing down the flames, but were turned away by the heat.
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Honolulu fire investigators examined the scene of an Ewa Beach house fire at 91-623 Kilipoe St. yesterday morning.
A Board of Water Supply worker who tried to help was treated for smoke inhalation. Details on his condition were not available last night.
Firefighters found the man's body in a bedroom in the back of the house, said Capt. Frank Johnson of the Honolulu Fire Department. Damage to the house and contents was estimated at $280,000.
The cause of the fire, which destroyed half of the house, is also under investigation.
Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Services Department, said a dental record analysis may be needed to confirm the victim's identity.
"The body was burned pretty severely," he said.
The Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting relatives who lived at the house.
Robert Higgins, one of the neighbors who tried to put out the flames, said Ramos, who was self-employed and did home repairs, would sometimes complain about his wife's son.
"They weren't on good terms," said Higgins, 65.