Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Morning fire does damage to apartments

Several tenants in a two-story structure are displaced after a blaze starts in a vacant unit

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Eight people were displaced from their homes when fire damaged a five-unit apartment building near McKinley High School yesterday.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire, reported at 7:05 a.m. When the five engine and two ladder companies arrived at 910 Piikoi St., all the tenants were out of the two-story structure, said Capt. Terry Seelig, Fire Department spokesman.

The fire began in a vacant second-floor apartment; it was not immediately determined what started it. The fire was largely confined to that unit, but others suffered fire or water damage.

Teresa Cunningham, who lives with three family members in a ground-floor apartment, was asleep when the fire broke out.

She said she was awakened when her 6-year-old daughter, Althea, called out, "Mommy ... fire."

"I was shivering because I was scared," Althea said.

Teresa Cunningham said she went looking for her husband, Allen, but he had left the apartment for an early-morning walk.

"I heard popping sounds, like popcorn," said Teresa Cunningham, who has lived at the Piikoi Street home for seven years.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 7:24 a.m.

Rodney Sasaki, owner of the two-story hollow-tile and wood building, said the unit where the fire began has been vacant since the beginning of the month.

Seelig said the fire heavily damaged the vacant second-floor unit, and there was limited fire damage to the adjacent apartment, where one man lived and was taking a shower when the fire started.

The three apartments on the ground floor suffered water damage where seven people lived.

Damage to the building and its contents was set at $130,000.

The Red Cross was called to help the tenants find temporary shelter.

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