Blaze destroys house of family of 5 in Waipahu


POSTED: Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fire heavily damaged the home of a Waipahu family while they were at church on Christmas Eve.

Twenty firefighters responded to the blaze at the multifamily home at 94-330 Paiwa St. at 10:54 p.m. Flames were seen coming from the front and left side of the house as firefighters arrived. The fire was under control by 11:15 p.m. and extinguished at midnight, fire officials said.

Damage to the home and its contents was estimated at $350,000, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Earle Kealoha. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

; Thirteen adults and nine children, ranging in age from 2 months to 17 years, live in the house.

But the fire was confined to the front section of the house, where Peter and Nia Petersen and their three children have lived for six years.

“;We just thank God nobody was hurt,”; Nia Petersen said.

The fire gutted the interior of the house and scorched the outside walls. Christmas lights hanging from the roof were singed.

The family was able to salvage important documents such as birth certificates, but not much else. “;Everything is gone,”; Petersen said.

The Petersens plan to stay with relatives in Ewa Beach.