Honolulu firefighters are battling a structure fire that badly damaged one single-story home and threatened surrounding houses in Kalani Valley.
The fire at 1541 Kalaniwai Place was first reported at 4:35 p.m. The Honolulu Fire Department responded by dispatching 14 crews staffed by 54 personnel, according to HFD spokesman Capt. Kevin Mokulehua.
Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the residence and, after securing a water source, initiated a “very aggressive attack” on the fire, Mokulehua said.
However, due to the close proximity of neighboring homes, severe sloping, shifting winds and other factors, the firefighters eventually pulled back and switched to a defensive approach to keep the fire from spreading to other houses.
Johnny Louch, a resident of South Africa who is visiting his mother-in-law at her home a few doors down, said he smelled what he thought was plastic burning, went outside to investigate, and saw smoke coming from the neighboring home.
“I ran over and saw an open door,” he said. “I stuck my head in and asked if anyone was home but no one was there. I could hear the fire crackling above.”
Mokulehua later confirmed that multiple residents were home at the time of the fire but were able to exit the house without injury.
The cause of the fire has not been determined pending an investigation. Damage estimates are not yet available.