Intense and frightening. That was the common reaction in Foster Village Wednesday evening as a fast-moving fire consumed a home at 1231 Kukila St.
Neighbors say the fire engulfed the house in a matter of minutes.
“Before I knew it, it was like black smoke everywhere,” said Sharon Alvarado, who lives nearby, and rushed to the flames while driving home from work.
Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig said an Army couple with two young boys escaped out the back of the home as flames consumed two vehicles in the car port.
Neighbors say the couple had just rented the home about a month ago. One of the vehicles destroyed by the fire had California license plates.
“The house was just remodeled and they're renters,” said neighbor Erica Tai Hook. “They just moved in.”
Also rushing to the burning home was Samantha Poe, who lives down the road on Haloa Drive. Poe shot dramatic cell phone video of the fire, while warning residents in a home next door to get away from the flames.
“When I got here, I was just like recording, making sure nobody was hurt,” said Poe. “I saw people moving their cars, and I saw people getting closer to look at the fire, which didn't make sense you know? Just get away from the fire.”
Seelig said the home is a complete loss, with damage estimated at $350,000. Fire investigators will be at the home on Thursday to try and determine a cause. Seelig said another man who lives with the Army couple was taking a walk around the neighborhood when the fire broke out.
Last week, a fire on Apowale Street in Waipahu resulted in the deaths of a father and daughter, 84-year-old Haruki “Harry” Tokita, and 55-year-old Karen Tokita. The fire was blamed on a faulty electrical outlet behind the home’s refrigerator.
Seelig said electrical malfunctions or anomalies are among the top three causes of house fires on Oahu.
“Electrical is something that people have to pay attention to,” said Seelig. “The fact that things aren’t working the way that they normally should, or do. Those are maybe advance notices that you’re having trouble.”