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Big Isle man quells house fire with pot of miso soup

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 04:22 p.m. HST, Mar 22, 2014

Hawaii island resident Joy Gardner credits her son with saving her house by stopping a fast-moving fire with a pot of miso soup.

Gardner, 70, of Papaaloa, said crackling sounds woke up her son Reuben Prensky, 41, on Saturday morning. He investigated and found a plastic sink in the laundry area on fire with flames lapping at the roof.

"It was very intense," she said by phone from Hawaii island.

Prensky went to the kitchen for some water and grabbed the first thing he could find -- a large pot of miso vegetable soup left out overnight on the stovetop. He doused the fire with the soup, slowing it enough for him to grab the garden hose and extinguish the flames, she said. 

Prensky put out the fire before firefighters arrived.

"Everybody agrees, if that fire had gone on for about 30 more seconds, it would have burned the whole house down," Gardner said.

Firefighters told her the fire would have gotten out of control if it had spread along the rafters of the A-frame house.

In the aftermath, there were the melted sink, a blackened wall, and orange and white cubes of vegetables on the floor.

Gardner, who writes books on vibrational healing, said her son came from Canada two days ago to visit.

"I'm very, very grateful," said Gardner, who was sleeping upstairs in the house at the time. "He saved the house, he saved the day, he might have even saved my life."

Fire officials said the 5 a.m. fire started from an electrical short in a light switch in the laundry area. It caused about $10,000 in damage to the home at 35-2040 Nanu St.

Officials also credited Reuben's "quick thinking" and said his actions saved about $200,000 in property.

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Son and soup stop Big Island house fire

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cojef wrote:
Moral of this news account is always have pot of miso soup handy. An old friend said they also kept pot of miso soup to accommodate uninvited guest. Just add a little water to it, never mind the watered down soup. At least they won't leave with an empty stomach.
on March 22,2014 | 03:16PM
nitpikker wrote:
miso soup; cure-all, fix-all.
on March 22,2014 | 03:54PM
primowarrior wrote:
I always have extra beer at the ready too, just in case there's a fire.
on March 22,2014 | 04:12PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
GMO soybean soup saves lives.!!!
on March 22,2014 | 04:59PM
huponews wrote:
What an act, of faith....Nice thinking Reuben, right place at the right time. Please patten that miso soup as fire fighting chemical.....hahaa! Wasn't your time yet......thank god.
on March 22,2014 | 07:34PM
2NDC wrote:
Glad they didn't have a couple of bottles of Bacardi 151 handy to douse the flames! :-O
on March 22,2014 | 09:17PM
likewise wrote:
I have to admire a household that keeps a pot of soup on the stovetop in case of unexpected snack attacks........and fire's. Post your recipe please! It's a matter of public safety. And it sounds delicious.
on March 23,2014 | 07:42AM
Bully wrote:
Lucky people.
on March 23,2014 | 10:09AM
HanabataDays wrote:
This reminds me of when Bruddah Jefts house on west end Molokai caught fire back in the 70s I believe it was. The fire engine was fifteen minutes away, so Jefts -- who was a watermelon farmer -- threw watermelons at the fire, which kept it under control until the tanker got there. Matamiru, misoshiru!!
on March 23,2014 | 10:40AM
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