CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Firefighters cleaned up after extinguishing a fire yesterday that broke out at a five-bedroom home located on 54-285 Hauula Homestead Road. There were no injuries but four people were displaced.
Frantic residents flee blaze’s dense smoke
Ayme Ueda awoke to cracking glass and smoke at a Hauula house while boyfriend Paul Dahleen "looked outside the window and started freaking out," Ueda said.
"He opened the bedroom door, and black smoke gushed in and engulfed us," Ueda, 18, said.
Dahleen, 19, broke through a window, got out and called for her while Ueda jumped through another window into the arms of a friend, John Thomley, 19, who had escaped from the house. "I was topless and it was hectic and it was horrible," she said.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said firefighters arrived in three minutes after the 2:14 p.m. alarm. The house at 54-285 Hauula Homestead Road had "quite a bit of flame," received significant damage and is uninhabitable, Seelig said.
Dahleen, his parents and a hanai brother lived at the five-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot house.
About 35 firefighters brought the fire under control in 15 minutes.
Thomley, a house guest from Puna, was asleep on the living room couch when he started choking on the smoke and ran outside. After realizing his friends were still inside, he tried to run back in.
"I was yelling the whole time, but they were sleeping," he said. "But it was loud, glass was breaking, things were shattering. Things were falling from the roof."
He ran outside to the first-floor bedroom window and helped his friends escape.
Laura Dahleen, 51, frantic after her son called, had to catch a bus from Chinatown to get home since she could not reach her husband, Rodney, 58, who was working on a tugboat.
He got the message, and they arrived home at about the same time, 4 p.m. Laura Dahleen, in tears, shouted through the pouring rain, "Where's my son?"
After a tearful reunion, she said, "Thank goodness the kids are all OK. I hope my kitties are happy in kitty heaven."
She later learned the family's two cats and two lovebirds had been rescued and that three dogs were OK. Despite the gratitude she feels that everyone is alive, Dahleen was pained at the loss of their home.
"We've had this house for 20 years; that's really hard," she said sadly, and also lamented the loss of precious photos.
Seelig said there were no smoke alarms. The Dahleens hoped to stay at a neighbor's house last night, and the Red Cross offered help.
No cause or damage estimate was available yesterday.