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Neighbors, friends identify man, daughter killed in Waipahu fire

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:20 p.m. HST, Mar 5, 2013

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A father and daughter died and the man's son was hospitalized following a house fire in Waipahu early this morning, emergency responders said.

Firefighters responded to the 12:45 a.m. alarm call at 94-415 Apowale Street, in what’s known as the Waipahu Gardens subdivision, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig.

An elderly man and his daughter were pronounced dead at the scene, the city Department of Emergency Services said. Neighbors said the man was in his 80s and the daughter in her 50s.

Positive identification is pending with the city Department of Medical Examiner. But neighbors and friends identified the man as Haruki Tokita and the woman as Karen Tokita.

Patrol officers pulled the man's son, 51, from the yard of the home. He was not injured but hospitalized for observation, Seelig said.

Neighbors and friends identified him as Randy Tokita.

Neighbors said the elderly man was the sole care provider for all three of his adult children, all of whom have mental disabilities. Only two of the children were living in the home at the time of the fire, they said.

Responding firefighters could see smoke en route to the house and the whole front of the home was engulfed in heavy flames when firefighters arrived on scene at 12:53 a.m., Seelig said.

A total of 40 firefighters responded, bringing the fire under control by 1:20 a.m. and extinguishing the fire by 2:55 a.m., he said.

Fire investigators are on scene to determine the cause of the fire. No other houses were damaged and no other injuries were reported. A damage estimate is pending, though the house is a complete loss, Seelig said.

Both bodies were found on the first-floor of the two-story structure, one in the front and one in the back of the home, he said.

These were the first two fatalities of the year on Oahu, Seelig said.

Apowale Street is located off of Waikele Road near Waipahu Elementary School.

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