Discarded cigarette butt sparks fire that injures 1
Seven people are left without homes after the Kapolei blaze
One man was injured and six others were displaced after a blaze gutted two units and badly damaged a third yesterday morning in a townhouse in Kapolei.
Fire investigators determined that a discarded cigarette butt in a wastebasket accidentally caused the fire, fire Capt. Terry Seelig said.
Damage to the three units was estimated at $510,000 and $60,000 to their contents, Seelig said.
The fire was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Six engines and two ladder trucks responded to 91-1075 Namahoe Place. When firefighters arrived at the Aeloa subdivision, they found several residents trying to douse the flames with fire extinguishers. That was how a 25-year-old man suffered burn injuries, Seelig said.
By 10:20 a.m., when the fire was under control, the flames had destroyed two units on the ground and second floors and severely damaged another. There are eight units in the building.
About 35 firefighters fought the blaze. Seelig said the man who suffered injuries lived at the bottom unit and was home at the time with a woman. The man was taken to Kaiser Hospital in stable condition.
The cause and source of the fire are under investigation, Seelig said. The occupants were distraught and declined comment. The units and stairs were blackened, with roofing and tiling burned loose.
Neighbor Doni Lee, who has lived in the area for 10 years, said she heard what sounded like fireworks and glass cracking and immediately called the Fire Department.
"I was just hoping nobody was home," Lee said. "They have a lot of shrubbery in the yard, and everyone was trying to put out the fire but it was too much."
Two men and two women lived in one of the floor units. A man, woman and child lived in the second-floor unit.
Seelig said the residents left the home and later returned to fight the fire. He cautioned residents not to return to a fire once they have left. Seelig said that residents can try to fight a fire as they are leaving only if it appears controllable.
"We don't want to discourage people from trying to help each other or themselves," Seelig said. "But once you're out of the fire, do not go back in. There's so much risk involved, not just with the flames you see, but the smoke and the gasses."