JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Epifanio Pacquing, 96, took a breather in a neighbor's garage yesterday afternoon after being treated for minor burns from the fire that gutted his house in Ewa Beach. About 40 firefighters from five engines and two ladders responded. The blaze was deemed under control by 2:08 p.m. Fire investigators are still determining the cause. CLICK FOR LARGE
Blaze in Ewa Beach leaves 3 homeless
A neighbor and a FedEx driver save elderly man from fire
A deliveryman and a neighbor helped an elderly man escape a fast-moving fire that engulfed his Ewa Beach home yesterday.
"I've never seen something spread that fast," said Eddie Baker, who was delivering packages for FedEx.
The blaze occurred at a wooden structure at 91-952 Fort Weaver Road. About 44 firefighters responded to the fire at 1:52 p.m. and brought it under control within 16 minutes.
The home was owned by Epifanio Pacquing and his two sons, Reuben, 52, and Ronald, 50. Both live with Pacquing.
The senior Pacquing, who was alone at the time of the fire, was awakened by popping noises while he was asleep, neighbor Ronald Hata said.
Baker called 911 on his cell phone and then ran down to the house. "I saw very heavy thick smoke. You couldn't even see the house from the sidewalk," Hata said. "We were coughing like crazy."
Pacquing was standing near the doorway, but he would not move.
"He was kind of out of it," Hata said. He and Baker grabbed the man by his arms and started moving him out.
Hata, 20, said he was on his computer when he saw a big cloud of black smoke billowing from his neighbor's window. He then heard Pacquing yell, "Fire!"
He said he ran outside and straight into Pacquing's home. "I could see a lot of smoke coming from the windows," Hata said.
Glass crackled and electrical wires sparked while they were in the home. "I grabbed him, and we pulled him out to the side of the house," Hata said.
He said Pacquing was walking toward the front entrance when they arrived. "He was on his way out of the door," he said.
After the men brought Pacquing to safety, Hata and a third man sprayed the home and nearby homes with water from their garden hoses until firefighters arrived.
"It was very courageous what they did," said Capt. Frank Johnson, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.
Pacquing suffered minor burns to his left shoulder and back. He refused treatment, Johnson said.
Pacquing's son Reuben said they had lived in the home since 1959, one of the first homes built along Fort Weaver Road. After he and his brother checked on their father, Reuben Pacquing walked around the front of their home, observing the charred frame.
"We gotta carry on," he said.
The American Red Cross-Hawaii Chapter is assisting the family with living arrangements. The cause of the fire and a damage estimate to the home have yet to be determined.
Star-Bulletin reporter Robert Shikina contributed to this report.