Charles Allen was able to rescue his Selmer tenor saxophone yesterday before escaping from a fire that destroyed his rented Kalihi Valley home.

Kalihi man escapes
house fire with sax

Damage to the home of
Charles Allen is estimated
at $280,000

Charles Allen's two bedrooms were crammed with 27 years of stuff.

But when a fire engulfed his rented Kalihi Valley house just before dawn yesterday, the 54-year-old musician and graphic artist grabbed just one item and fled: his saxophone.

"I had to get my sax out but basically lost everything else," said Allen, who works at Hickam Air Force Base and plays music part time at clubs.

"Just glad I'm still breathing," said Allen, who smiled but was shaken by the tragedy. "I still have my health and my saxophone, so I guess all is not lost."

Fire Capt. Emmit Kane said investigators determined the cause of the fire was electrical, and damage was estimated at $250,000 to the two-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath house and $30,000 to its contents.

The blaze at 2635-A Kalihi St. was reported at 5:18 a.m. A total of 38 firefighters brought the fire under control about 5:47 a.m., Kane said.

No one was injured in the fire.

The fire destroyed the upstairs bedrooms, taking the roof of one of them, and the living room was severely damaged by heat and smoke.

Allen, who was sleeping in the living room, said he was up for about 10 minutes and smelled "something funny." He then heard crackling from the upstairs bedroom and discovered the fire.

He tried to put it out using two fire extinguishers, but when they were exhausted, he fled.

Allen will spend Christmas with a friend. The Red Cross is also assisting.


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