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Wilhelmina Rise house fire apparently intentionally set, firefighters say

By Star-Advertier staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:21 a.m. HST, Aug 25, 2012

A fire that heavily damaged a single-story, wooden home on Wilhelmina Rise home Friday morning leaving two men, a woman and her dog homeless apparently was intentionally set, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

The case has been turned over to the police, Seelig said.

The fire broke out at about 6:08 a.m. at a home at 1439 Center St.

Arriving firefighters saw “heavy flames coming from one half of the house,” Seelig said. The fire caused $250,000 damage to the house and $15,000 to contents, Seelig said.

“The flames were huge,” said Daniel Ho, a neighbor on Sierra Drive. “They were 10 to 15 feet. It was insane.”

Firefighters brought the flames under control by 6:50 a.m. and the fire was extinguished 45 minutes later.

A smoke alarm woke up one of the residents.

The other man, who said the flames woke him up, said the fire may have been started by a cigarette.

The three housemates, who lived in the two-bedroom home, declined to give their names.

One of the men said his parents own the home, which was built in 1928, according to city tax records. 

The three said they are not related.

Paramedics examined the woman, but she did not need treatment, Seelig said.

The Red Cross is assisting them.

Three engine and ladder companies responded to the fire.

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