Monday, May 21, 2001

The family was away at the time of the blaze, which
caused heavy damage to the kitchen and bedrooms.

Fire of uncertain origin
guts Salt Lake house

Concerned neighbors wait to comfort the
returning occupants

By Diana Leone

A one-story Salt Lake home was damaged by a fire yesterday afternoon while the owners were away.

Neighbor Espie Anchetta said she saw fire and smoke coming from the house at 1182 Ala Lilikoi St. at about 5 p.m.

"As soon as we got here, we searched the house and checked with neighbors to see if anyone was home," said Fire Capt. John Young.

Thirty-two firefighters responded to the 5:06 p.m. call, with five engines, two ladder trucks and a rescue vehicle, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

The three-bedroom house sustained $140,000 in damage, and damage to contents was estimated at $60,000, Soo said.

Firefighter Dean Ideue of Engine Company 6 cleaned up
equipment yesterday after crews extinguished the house
fire on Ala Lilikoi Street at Likini Street.

Owner Feliza Dela Cruz, 68, lives in the house with her son Allen, who is in his late 40s, and they jointly manage a number of apartments at other locations, said Elena Lucas, Dela Cruz's sister-in-law.

Lucas speculated that the Dela Cruzes may have been in Kaneohe visiting their husband and father's grave. They had not returned to the house by 7:15 p.m., where Lucas, her husband, Ernesto, and a small clump of neighbors waited to comfort them.

When she heard the kitchen and bedrooms were heavily damaged, one neighbor lamented that Dela Cruz had a number of beautiful ballroom dancing gowns that would be hard to replace.

The fire investigator has not determined the cause but did label the house as unlivable, Soo said.

Red Cross staff were available to provide assistance to the family if needed.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 5:22 p.m. and extinguished shortly after 6 p.m., he said.

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