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Elderly man, rescuer injured in apartment fire

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 11:44 a.m. HST, Dec 29, 2010

Two people were injured, one of them seriously, when fire broke out in a four-story apartment building in Kalihi last night.

One of the men was injured while helping the other man escape the blaze, which began around 10:41 p.m. at 607 North King Street near Pua Lane, a fire department spokesman said.

Firefighters arrived to find a smoldering fire in a first-floor unit of the four-story Island West Apartments, said Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

An elderly man in the unit was found in the hallway of the masonary building, Seelig said. 

A spokesman for the city Department of Emergency Services said the man was taken to burn unit at Straub Medical Center in serious condition. 

The other man suffered minor injuries while using a building hose line to control the fire and bring the elderly man out, Seelig said.

The second man told firefighters that he and at least two other residents of the building forced their way into the burning unit and pulled the resident into the hallway, Seelig said.

Paramedics said the second man refused treatment.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 10:51 p.m. About 18 firefighters from three engine companies, a ladder company and a battalion chief fought the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and a damage estimate is expected early this afternoon, Seelig said.

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