Monday, October 5, 2015         

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Morning blaze in Ewa hits home of union boss

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


A fire Friday morning destroyed the garage of the Ewa Beach home belonging to Tenari Ma'afala, head of the police union.

Ma'afala, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said his wife, Tracy, had just put a load of laundry in the dryer, located in the garage, and minutes later she heard an explosion and then saw flames.

Tracy and two daughters were home and escaped without injury, thanks in part to a family escape plan, he said.

Ma'afala and another daughter had stayed overnight at a hotel in Waikiki, but they rushed home when they got the call about the fire, he said.

The fire was reported at the Puhikani Place home at about 5:36 a.m. Firefighters arrived at 5:44 a.m. and brought the fire under control six minutes later, said Capt. Terry Seelig, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.

Fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which did an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the structure and contents, Seelig said.

The inside of the home was spared from the flames but sustained smoke and water damage. Among the items in the garage and an attic above the garage that were destroyed were souvenirs from Ma'afala's years at HPD. There was also sports memorabilia associated with Ma'afala's brother, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, a former NFL football player.

"A lot of memories," Ma'afala said. "But I just thank God that my wife and my daughters are OK. Material things you can replace."

Star-Advertiser reporter Gregg K. Kakesako contributed to this report.

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