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Hawaii Kai townhouse fire leaves 4 people homeless

    Flames could be seen coming through the roof of a home on Kawaihae Street in Hawaii Kai this morning.
    A house fire on Kawaihae Street in Hawaii Kai apparently started in the back of the home, a fire department spokesman said.
    A resident, at right, displaced by housefire gives her dog water, while firefighters clean up after a fire this morning on Kawaihae Street in Hawaii Kai.
    Residents wait for firefighters to clean up after fire damaged their home on Kawaihae Street in Hawaii Kai this morning.

Four people, including a disabled elderly woman, are homeless after a fire destroyed their Hawaii Kai townhouse this morning.

Capt. Gary Lum, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said the two-alarm fire was reported at 6:22 a.m. at the three-bedroom, two-story home. Firefighters arriving on scene at 6:28 a.m. saw flames shooting through the roof of the townhouse.

Lawrence Green, one of four people who live in the townhouse at 327 Kawaihae St., said he was sleeping on the second floor.

"When I woke up I could smell burning plastic. The room was full of smoke.

"I jumped out of the window and landed on the garage roof and then ran (back) into the house."

Green said Joyce Sipe, who owns the unit, was sleeping on a lounge chair in the living room.

Green said he and several neighbors had to carry Sipe out of the unit.

Lum said the fire was brought under control by 6:44 a.m. He later said investigators have been unable to determine what caused the fire.

"It was a very rude awakening…traumatic," Green added as he thumbed through the phone book looking up insurance agents.

None of the three men nor Sipe was injured. The Red Cross was called to the scene to help the four.

Mike Tierney, who lives in a neighboring townhouse in the four-unit complex, said he was leaving his home when his wife called him.

"I could see smoke all the way from the (Kalanianole Highway) and drove back and moved my other car out of the driveway."

Lum said the unit suffered "substantial damage," but a damage estimate was not yet available. Fire investigators were still determining the cause of the fire, which started on the second floor.

Tierney’s townhouse suffered water damage and firefighters had to cut through his attic to get to the fire that at times threatened his unit. 


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