An elderly mother and her son apparently escaped unharmed after a fire broke out in their Nuuanu home this morning, the Honolulu Fire Department said.
Battalion Chief John Dowers said 43 Honolulu firefighters responded to the blaze at 2460 Huene Street at 7:42 a.m. and reported a “large volume of smoke” upon arrival.
The fire “pretty much gutted the whole downstairs and second floor of the house,” Dowers said.
HFD Fire Capt. Scot Seguriant said the home was already “fully involved with fire,” which means “fire was everywhere” when the first unit arrived to battle the two-alarm blaze. Fire crews attacked the flames from multiple sides, shutting down neighboring streets in the area. Liliha Street was closed in both directions between Lanai and Maui streets until 9:50 a.m.
Major General Robert G.F. Lee, who served as the state’s adjutant general from 2003 to 2011, was at the scene. Lee, who grew up in the five-bedroom home, said his brother and mother still lived there.
“I want to thank the fire department for the quick response, and the police, and my neighbor, who is also a fireman, made sure that my mom and brother got out okay,” Lee said.
According to witnesses, a man and woman were rescued from the home by an off-duty firefighter who lived nearby before first responders arrived.
“I saw smoke from (my) kitchen and I went to the living room and saw fire,” said Coen Sardinha, 10. “My dad went to go get the people out of the house.
“My mom knows them, so we didn’t want their house to burn down.”
Another neighbor, Lawrence Suan, watched as Coen’s dad brought the couple outside while the fire raged.
“I looked out the window and the house (across the street) was already on fire. It was pretty intense,” he said. “I went out and (our neighbor’s) wife told me her husband ran in, and then I saw him coming out with the couple.”
The fire was reported fully extinguished at 9:49 a.m.
Dowers said there were no reports of injuries. An adjacent home suffered minor roof damage, HFD said.
A Honolulu Fire Department investigator was on scene this morning; it was unknown if working smoke detectors were present in the home.
Seguriant said it’s still too early to determine the fire’s cause or how much damage it caused to the two homes.