Fires in Kailua and Kalihi
leave 2 families homeless

A family in Kalihi and another in Kailua were left homeless after fires destroyed their homes yesterday.

A 3-year-old boy playing with a lighter caused a fire at 1506C Amelia St. in Kalihi, fire officials said.

In the other house fire, an Enchanted Lake housekeeper received minor injuries while evacuating two family dogs at 477 Aulima Loop about 1:15 p.m., fire officials said.

The housekeeper was outside when she noticed flames in the living area, fire officials said.

She was leading the dogs out of a kennel to safety when one of the dogs pulled the leash and caused her to fall, officials said.

Officials said the woman was treated for abrasions. Damage to the home was estimated at $215,000.

The occupants of the home, a mother, her 20-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, were not home at the time.

Honolulu Taliulu, 37, her mother and her 3-year-old son were at the Kalihi home when fire broke out about noon. No one was injured. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

Taliulu said she suspects her son, T.J., pulled the lighter off a microwave oven and played with it in her bedroom.

"I knew everything was all damaged, but we're all alive," she said.

Taliulu was outside at the rear of the house, about to leave for a doctor's appointment, when her neighbor ran over to tell her smoke was coming from her bedroom window. The fire alarm also went off.

She and her neighbor, pastor Tinetali Gafa, 40, ran into the burning house and filled jars with water from the kitchen tap and tried to douse the fire in the bedroom, but it didn't help much.

Outside, Taliulu's mother, Evelise Faapouli, 66, shouted for the two to get out. "I told her, 'Leave the things,'" she said.

"I told her, don't worry about the things inside," Gafa said. "Just thank God that every one of you is alive."


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