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Eight people homeless following Piikoi St. fire

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 3:23 p.m. HST, Nov 11, 2010


Eight people lost their homes following a fire that destroyed a second-story apartment in a five-unit building near McKinley High School this morning.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire that was reported at 7:05 a.m. When the five engine and two ladder companies arrived at 910 Piikoi St. all the tenants were out of the two-story structure, said Capt. Terry Seelig, fire department spokesman.

Teresa Cunningham, who lives with three family members in a ground floor apartment, was asleep when the fire broke out.

Her six-year-old daughter Althea woke her up when she called out: ""

"I was shivering because I was scared," said Althea.

Teresa Cunningham said she went looking for her husband, Allen, who had already left the unit for an early morning walk.

"I heard popping sounds," said Teresa Cunningham, who has lived at the Piikoi home for the past seven years, "like popcorn."

Rodney Sasaki, the owner of the two-story hollow tile and wood building, said he asked the tenant in the vacant second floor unit to move out at the beginning of November.

 "He wasn't working and hadn't paid his rent for the past two months," he said.

Seelig said fire gutted the vacant second floor unit and there was limited fire damage to the adjacent apartment, where one man lived.

The three apartments on the ground floor suffered water damage.

The Red Cross was called to the scene to help the tenants find temporary shelter.

Firefighters had the fire under control by 7:24 a.m. Police closed Piikoi Street between Kapiolani Boulevard and King Street and a short potion of Elm Street.

The streets were re-opened at about 8:30, except for one lane on Piikoi.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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