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Woman dies in Aiea house fire

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    Firefighters combat a fire in Aiea at 99-518 Ulune St. near Pualaa Street.
    Firefighters combat a fire in Aiea at 99-518 Ulune St. near Pualaa Street.

A woman died last night in a house fire that destroyed a single-family home in Aiea.

The fire started at 10:17 p.m. at 99-518 Ulune St. and firefighters arrived five minutes later, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gary Lum.

About 35 firefighters brought the fire under control by 10:39 p.m., Lum said. Firefighters are still mopping up at the scene.

Police Lt. Stacey Kapelielu said the house was fully engulfed in flames when officers arrived.

The victim, 65, was found in a back room of the house at 1:10 a.m. police said. Police and fire are investigating.

Lum said the woman lived with her adult grandson.

Neighbors pointed out family members at the scene who declined to speak with the media.

Shane Vasconcellos, who lives nearby, said he came out as the fire was starting.

"The fire went grow super-fast," Vasconcellos said. "The windows were exploding out."

He estimated flames reached the level of trees more than 30-feet tall behind the house. Two cars in the carport also burned, and an electrical line lay on the street sparking and popping, "just like fireworks," witnesses said.

Three men tried to go in to check if anyone was still inside when the fire was just starting, he said.

As two men were trying to kick in the door, a third man got out of his car to help and was able to get in the house.

He told Vasconcellos that he was able reach a room in the back of the house but didn’t find anyone and came out after the fire got too hot.

Carol Toguchi, who lives next door to the house, said she didn’t know if anyone was home at the time. She heard people yelling, "get out the house."

When she came out, the house was already engulfed in flames, she said.

The fire also damaged the siding of a house next door.

"I was scared," Toguchi said. Her home next door to the fire was not damaged. "I was all shook up. I’m still shook up."

She said her neighbors are private people and that she didn’t know them too well.

"I used to see her always weeding the yard," she said.


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