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Candles cause 2 house fires on Hawaii island

By Sarah Zoellick

LAST UPDATED: 7:46 p.m. HST, Sep 9, 2012

Candles were the culprit in structure fires that destroyed two Hawaii island homes over the weekend and left occupants injured and homeless, county fire officials said.

The first fire started in a home in Mauna Loa Estates in the Volcano area of the island on Saturday night.

Firefighters arrived just before 11:30 p.m. to find a corner house at 7th and Pearl streets fully involved in flames, according to a Hawaii County Fire Department news release.

The people living in the house escaped without injury, and damage to the home is estimated at $210,000.

Officials said the blaze was brought under control by 1:30 a.m. and extinguished at 2 a.m. 

Firefighters determined that an unattended candle in the bedroom area caused the fire, and the Red Cross is assisting the family with housing and other needs.

Just a few hours later, the Red Cross was called in to aid the occupants of a Hilo home that erupted in flames.

Two people were injured in that fire: a woman was treated on the scene and refused to be transported, and a man was taken to Hilo Medical Center to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation, officials said.

Crews arrived at 5:15 a.m. Sunday to find a single-story home on Alani Street fully engulfed in flames. The occupants were out of the home and accounted for when firefighters arrived, officials said.

A burning candle was also the cause of that fire, and damage to the 1,600-square-foot structure is estimated at $160,000.

Officials said the blaze was called under control just before 6 a.m. and extinguished 50 minutes later.

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