Woman, trying to find dog, injured in Hawaii Kai fire


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

A 64-year-old Hawaii Kai woman was seriously injured yesterday when she ran back into her burning house to find her dog.


Judy Ludholm was unable to find her dog, Star, but she eventually got out, as did her 87-year-old mother, Olive Deming.

One of the 45 firefighters who responded to the 5:43 p.m. fire discovered the little terrier safely hiding in the back of the house.

Ludholm was taken in serious condition to a hospital with apparent burns, Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic said.

Firefighters brought the fire under control at 6 p.m.

Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said the blaze caused an estimated $300,000 damage, mainly to the front of the house located at 157 Anapalau St., and another $30,000 to its contents.

Neighbor Glenn Charach, 54, ran into the house twice to look for Ludholm, but the house was filled with thick, black smoke. Charach, who cut his leg while climbing over a wall to open a side gate, later found she had gotten out through the back.

Star, held tight by Ludholm, rode along in the ambulance with her and her mother.

“;She won't leave the dog,”; said Charach, who offered to watch the dog.

When the firefighter brought the dog out, Ludholm was being treated by paramedics. She jumped up and went to the dog, “;oxygen and all,”; he said.

Neighbor Judy Vernon said of Charach, “;He was kind of the hero to see if he could get everyone out.”;

Charach said the women told him and his wife that the fire began in the front bedroom, where Deming had been earlier. She had left the room, and when she returned and opened the door, smoke came pouring out, Charach said.

“;Judy ran in to put out the fire, but it was too large,”; he said.

Firefighters used a new foam to help put out the fire, reducing water damage.

Five engine companies, two ladder companies and a rescue unit responded.

Seelig reminded people never to go back into a burning house because of the risk of being overcome by heat, smoke and a lack of oxygen.