A rookie Maui police office is credited with saving lives when he entered a smoke-filled Kahului house, woke up residents and helped extinguish a fire.
Officer Gershom Slonin, 24, was driving through the neighborhood in his patrol car when he when he saw smoke coming from a two-story home at 565 South Papa Ave. at 2:26 a.m.
Slonim said he called the fire department and then went into the building carrying a small fire extinguisher.
He woke up two men, who were still sleeping, and asked if there were other people in the home.
Slonim said he used his fire extinguisher to douse a pot of oil that had caught on fire on the store.
At that point Slonim said the smoke was so thick that he had to go out because he couldn’t breath.
Two other officers — Daryl Honda and Randy Takayama — went into the house with Slonim to help two other men and woman evacuate the home.
“I was just doing my job. Nothing extraordinary, just my job,” said Slonim, who has been on patrol duty for just five months.
“I just did what I had to do with my partners. They also deserve the credit.”
The Maui Fire Department said a dozen people lived in the home. All escaped without injury.
Firefighters arriving on scene saw light smoke and fire coming from the home. Fire crews had the small fire under control at 2:50 a.m. and extinguished by 3:35 a.m.
The fire spread from the stove to the kitchen and living room on the first floor. Damage was estimated at $7,000.