FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
A Honolulu Fire Department investigator questioned a boy who was home at time of a fire that damaged a house in Mililani at 95-107 Polale Place yesterday.
Fire ruins Mililani house
The blaze does an estimated $475,000 in damage to the structure and contents
Catherine Lamug struggled yesterday with the memories she lost in a fire that destroyed her Mililani home.
Lamug, her husband and two adult sons who lived at the house will stay with other relatives for now after fire engulfed their home of more than 10 years.
"I'm surrounded by loving family," Lamug said, her red eyes from recent tears. "And the neighbors are very supportive."
Family and friends sat with the Lamugs in a neighbor's driveway yesterday afternoon near the end of a cul-de-sac as fire investigators studied the fire's cause. They later said it was a child playing with matches.
About 10:35 a.m., firefighters responded to the two-story house fire and brought it under control 15 minutes later, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. James Todd. Firefighters estimate damage to the contents and structure of the three-bedroom home at 95-107 Polale Place at $475,000.
Michael Lamug, 22, and his two nephews, ages 6 and 4, were the only ones home when the fire started. The children were visiting their grandparents Catherine and Saturnino Lamug over the weekend.
Catherine Lamug was shopping, while her husband was at work when the fire broke out.
Lying down in his second-story bedroom, Michael Lamug had just closed his eyes when his 6-year-old nephew Noah told him he smelled something burning.
Lamug looked out his window and saw flames about 8 feet high lapping up the outside of his house. He told his nephews to get out of the house and ran downstairs. Lamug fled without slippers or a shirt.
"I was panicking," he said. "I was thinking of getting my nephews out and my dog."
The dog, a pitbull-terrier mix, frightened, but without injuries was behind the side gate, and Lamug freed it.
He shouted for help and used a hose to put water onto the flames. But by then the fire was too big.
Lamug showed the quarter-size blister and swelling on his right foot caused by walking on the concrete walkway heated by flames.
Lynne Murakami, who lives next door, said she heard his call for help and went outside.
"I just saw a ball of flames," she said. "It was really big. You could feel the heat."
She called 911 and used her hose to add more water on the flames, only a few feet from her house. Other neighbors sprayed water onto her house to protect it, she said.
"It just happened so quick and spread so fast," she said.
Lamug, a nurse, said she has insurance for the house.
The Red Cross provided food and clothing to the family, said Gavin Imamura, Red Cross coordinator.
Later in the afternoon, firefighters determined the cause of the fire was a child playing with matches, Todd said.
It's the second fire this month and the third fire in the last three months to be blamed on children playing with matches or lighters.
A fire in Salt Lake on Nov. 6 that left a 4-year-old boy dead and 31 people homeless was thought to have been caused by a child playing with a lighter.
Another fire caused by a child playing with matches left two families without housing in Nanakuli on Sept. 22.