Mililani condo blaze injures 2 residents
Army Sgt. Jason Tippi was talking with a friend early yesterday in his Mililani Mauka condominium when he smelled smoke.
"I went outside and saw the fire coming out and immediately called 911," said the 25-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier.
By 2:30 a.m. the fire had damaged four units at the Kumelewai Gardens complex at 95-1027 Ainamakua Drive.
Two apartment residents were taken to Wahiawa General Hospital with injuries. A 63-year-old man in critical condition with breathing difficulties from smoke inhalation was transferred by ambulance to the Kuakini Hospital hyperbaric decompression chamber, said Bryan Cheplic, city Emergency Medical Services spokesman. A 53-year-old man who received minor burns was treated at the Wahiawa hospital and released.
About 35 firefighters had the fire under control by 2:47 a.m. and extinguished about two hours later, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Chris Ah Mook Sang.
When fire crews got to the scene, they saw flames coming from a common area below a stairwell that serviced the affected units, Ah Mook Sang said. Two downstairs units and two upstairs units were damaged.
As firefighters checked the upstairs units, they found one man who refused to come out the front door, possibly scared. Fire crews used a ladder to rescue him from a back window, Ah Mook Sang said. He was treated for smoke inhalation.
Damage was estimated at $350,000 to the building and $50,000 to the contents. Damage at Tippi's apartment was less severe than at the other units.
"I had immediately closed the door when I left the condo, and that was the only thing that was burnt," said Tippi, who is with the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry.
Tippi, who shares the apartment with another soldier, said his carpet and a chair were covered with soot but that there was no fire or water damage.
Ralph Ahles, president of Metropolitan Management Inc., which manages the 152-unit complex, said, "It was lucky there was no wind. If there had been a wind, it would have been a lot worse."
Ah Mook Sang said five adults and one teenager were displaced by the fire. The Red Cross assisted them.