Man flees Ewa blaze
The fire consumes his home despite the best efforts of firefighters
An Ewa man was awakened just before dawn yesterday by the crackling noise of flames burning his bedroom, but escaped unharmed and tried to fight the fire, according to a fire official.
The fire destroyed the man's townhouse and damaged two others.
Firefighters were called at 6:29 a.m. to the seven-unit Arbors complex at 91-1091 Laaulu St. in Ewa by Gentry, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Frank Johnson.
The fire apparently started in a garage below the unit that was destroyed, Johnson said.
The man, awakened by the flames, ran downstairs and tried to put out the fire with his garden hose, but the flames were too hot, Johnson said. Neighbors also tried to help.
"The garage was just up in flames," said Jim Fassanella, of Rochester, N.Y., who was staying with a friend in a nearby unit. "I ran and moved my car up the street just in case."
About 40 firefighters from Ewa Beach, Waipahu, Kapolei and Makakilo had the fire under control within about 15 minutes, Johnson said. No one was home in the adjoining apartments.
"We were lucky no one else was home at the time of the fire," said David Thomas, who is a part of the Community Watch Team for Ewa by Gentry, which helped contact the homeowners.
The cause of the fire and damage estimates were under investigation. Fire investigators were focusing on the garage underneath the unit that was destroyed. A car and a motorcycle in the garage were destroyed. The garage does not belong with the owner of the destroyed unit. The man living in the destroyed unit declined to be interviewed. He will be staying with relatives, according to the Fire Department.
Skyle Shimizu, who lives in one of the damaged units, got married last week. He said he left for work at about 6 a.m.