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Cat blamed in Haiku house fire

A fire occurred at a two-story house in Haiku after a cat is believed to have knocked over an oil lamp in the bathroom.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, firefighters responded to the fire at Akahai Place.

A woman placed a lit oil lamp in the bathroom located on the ground floor. After she stepped out of the shower, she saw the lamp on the floor with flames surrounding it, according to Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto of the Maui Fire Department in a news release.

She at first tried to extinguish the fire with her towel, to no avail, then escaped.

Taomoto said a man was taking a shower on the second floor when he heard the fire alarm activated. When he saw the fire, he immediately grabbed a garden hose and sprayed water on the flames to keep it from spreading until firefighters arrived.

Fire crews observed smoke emanating from the ground floor of the home. They brought the fire under control at 6:16 p.m. and extinguished it within 10 minutes.

Taomoto said paramedics took the woman to Maui Memorial Medical Center for smoke inhalation.

The fire department ruled the fire was accidental as the residents’ cat is believed to have knocked the lamp over. Damage was contained to the bathroom and estimated at $1,000.

Taomoto reminded residents how important is it to have working fire alarms installed in homes. “If the fire alarm had not been working properly, or if there had been no fire alarms installed in the home, the man in the shower would not have been alerted early enough to investigate or escape from the fire,” he said in a news release.

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