Pair escape burning house in Kailua
Neighbors of a Kailua single-family home were awakened by popping windows and smoke as flames engulfed the structure at 3:30 a.m. yesterday.
"Glass was just flying out," said Violet Sanchez, who lives next door to the home at 219 Kihapai St. "The house is totaled."
Two men in the three-bedroom home were treated by the Emergency Medical Service and taken to Castle Medical Center with minor injuries, said Capt. Frank Johnson, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.
He said one of the men was attempting to spray the house with a garden hose when firetrucks arrived.
Sanchez said she yelled at the man to get away from the house "because the windows were popping. ... It's just fortunate nobody got hurt really bad. He could have caught fire."
One man rented the house and another was visiting him, she said.
She said her granddaughter Hillary, 21, woke her up, saying, "Grandma, the house is on fire."
She said at first she thought it was her house, but the granddaughter said it was next door.
"By the time we got outside, it was already engulfed in flames. She called 911," Sanchez said. "We got three garden hoses going to see if we could put the fire out. We couldn't, so we just sprayed my house" in case the fire jumped.
"Fortunately, it didn't," she said. "By the time the Fire Department came, they could only put the fire out."
The fire seemed to start in the front of the house, she said, describing her neighbor as "like a pack rat, I guess. He had lots of stuff jammed in there. He collected all kinds of stuff.
"There was a lot of activity" at the house, "a lot of cars coming and going," she said. "The guy who rents it, he's real nice, a quiet person. He kept to himself."
About 40 firefighters responded to the alarm, and the fire was confined to one house, Johnson said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said. Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $10,000 to the contents.