Honolulu firefighters battled a three-alarm house fire on Pacific Heights Road in Pauoa for several hours this afternoon.
Heavy, dark smoke from the fire deep in the valley could be seen from miles away, including the H-1 freeway.
Fifteen units responded with 59 personnel to the blaze at the home on 2455 Pacific Heights Road.
The fire was reported at 1:56 p.m. and the first unit arrived at 2:02 p.m. It was under control by 4:15 p.m. and extinguished at 6:23 p.m.
Neighbors said two brothers, who own the house, were home at the time of the fire.
Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said that one brother, who was working on a lower floor, heard popping sounds and woke his sleeping brother. The two managed to escape uninjured.
The garage, built on wooden “stilts” and level with the roadway, was fully involved in flames and collapsed, as did the right front corner of the home, Seguirant said.
The garage and a truck still inside sat precariously above the house, built below grade, making it difficult for firefighters to fully extinguish the fire.
Firefighters had to overcome low pressure from the water supply.
A house next door sustained minor damage.
No cause or damage estimate was available last night as the fire remains still under investigation.
But neighbors who spoke to the brothers say that they suspect it was caused by a generator running a compressor and that propane tanks were also .
The two brothers were standing on the street outside their home as they watched their family home burn, neighbors said.
Neighbor Kimo Ford called one of the brothers who was crying when he answered the phone.
The two men in their 40s, Roy and Lee, inherited the house from their parents, he said.
Online property tax records show the owner is the Spencer and Charleen Nishimura trust.
“I’m sorry for my neighbors,” said Ford.
Ford said he was concerned “their carport is built over the cliff on stilts.”
He said he’s been trying to tell everyone: “It would be imperative to get the lower part of the house under control,” and not just work on the burning eaves. If the carport and its foundation goes, the truck and all its contents, which is a lot, will come tumbling down, Ford said.
Ford, who moved into his home 32 years ago, said the brothers’ parents were already living there.
He said Lee just finished painting Ford’s house, as Ford is getting his house ready to put it up for sale on Friday.
The home at the end of Pacific Heights Road was still smoldering more than two hours later.