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911 dispatcher was at work when house caught fire

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:23 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2010



KAHULUI,>>A child playing with a lighter is to blame for a fire that destroyed a Kahului home early Saturday, fire officials said.

When firefighters arrived at the home around 12:09 a.m. Saturday they found the three-bedroom house engulfed in flames. The blaze, which was ruled accidental, began in a bathroom of the house, said Maui Fire Department Battalion Chief Sheldon Holokai.


The home belongs to Maui Police Department 911 dispatcher Terryn Cabigas, who was on duty, but did not take the call, when the fire was first reported.


"Instantly, I knew it was our home," said Cabigas.


A Maui police officer later called her to confirm that the home was hers, she said.
Cabigas said that her husband, Cornelio, grew up in the home and was too distraught to return to the scene.


Three people inside the home, Cabigas' 71-year-old mother-in-law and sons Ekolu, 5, and Caleb, 4, were able to flee the home without injury.


Cabigas said her family lost everything in the home in the blaze, as well as the family's SUV and truck.


The loss was estimated to be around $350,000.


The American Red Cross later responded to the scene to offer assistance with food and other needs, while the family moved in temporarily with relatives.







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