CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Police waited while firefighters arrived to mop up yesterday's fire on Meyers Street in Kalihi. A family of four escaped the fast-moving blaze that destroyed the wooden house. CLICK FOR LARGE
4 escape home blaze in Kalihi
The house fire on Meyers Street causes $545,000 in property damage
A family of four escaped a fast-moving blaze that destroyed a stilted wooden home in Kalihi early yesterday.
Firefighters responded at 4:53 a.m. to the fire at the single-story home at 1521 Meyers St. Upon arrival, a box of .22-caliber ammunition was "popping off" inside the home, said Capt. Robert Main, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.
Fire investigators determined the cause of the fire, which originated near the kitchen, was electrical, said fire Capt. Frank Johnson. Damage to the structure was estimated at $395,000 and its contents at $150,000.
Firefighters battled the blaze from the outside to prevent it from spreading to other homes. When the explosions stopped, firefighters went inside to extinguish the fire, Main said. The fire was under control at 5:30 a.m. and extinguished at 8 a.m.
Irene Funtanilla, 86, bought the home in 1960, according to her son, Jeff Funtanilla, who does not live at the home. His mother lived there with some of her grandchildren.
Relatives are emotionally upset, but grateful that nobody suffered any major injuries, Funtanilla's son said.
"Everybody is safe, that's the main thing," he said. "Everything else, you can buy."
He added: "We're here. We can start over."
Jeff Funtanilla's mother, his daughter, nephew and niece were asleep at the time of the fire when they heard the smoke detector go off.
Funtanilla said his nephew, James, rushed in and out of the home through the flames to get everyone out of the house. Their dog, Sar, escaped the blaze on her own.
Jeff Funtanilla said his nephew suffered minor burns on various parts of his body, including his back, hands and feet. He drove him to Hawaii Medical Center in Liliha to be treated for smoke inhalation. Funtanilla also drove his daughter, Janelle, and niece Jennifer to the same hospital, while his mother was taken to Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center by ambulance to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Funtanilla's cousins, Mariano and Rosemarie Cortes, who lived in a smaller home near the front of the property, also evacuated and were uninjured. The home also had extensive damage, as did four vehicles parked in the open carport.
Officials from the American Red Cross-Hawaii Chapter responded. Displaced family members will be staying with relatives, Funtanilla said.
Neighboring homes also sustained damage.
Roland Domingo, who lives next door, said he was awakened by the commotion at his neighbor's home and observed the blaze quickly consume the roof. "The roof jus' went fast," Domingo said. He and eight other people safely evacuated their home.
The fire caused smoke and roof damage to one side of Domingo's home. Heat from the blaze also caused multiple jalousies to shatter.
Heat from the flames also caused the kitchen window of Funtanilla's other neighbor to shatter and a bedroom window to crack. Resident Lani Ganir, along with eight relatives, evacuated their home. She commended firefighters for responding quickly. "They contained it very well," she said.