Fire destroys Kekaha home

KEKAHA — A fire in Kekaha Wednesday morning left a family of seven without a home.

John and Lacey Kanahele built the house in 2008. Their five children, ages 22, 21, 15, 14 and 5, live with them but no one was home when the fire started.

“Nobody was in the house,” John said. “Nobody was hurt.”

Neighbors called the Kauai Fire Department and did what they could to battle the blaze, Lacey said. One neighbor was near the back bedroom window when it exploded outward.

“But he stayed right there and kept trying,” she said.

The structure was insured. However, the couple said they lost something that can never be replaced. The Kanaheles built the home on leased Hawaiian Home Land at the end of a cul-de-sac on Akikiki Place in Kekaha. The neighbors pitched in as the Kanaheles did for their homes.

Family and friends will help the Kanaheles through this loss.

The youngest child is staying with family, as it would be too difficult for her to handle, Lacey said

“The older children are making the adjustment,” she added.

The fire broke out in the four-bedroom, single-family home shortly after 9 a.m., according to a county press release. Firefighters from the Hanapepe and Waimea fire stations, along with Rescue 3, responded and had the fire under control a half hour later and fully extinguished about 9:45 a.m.

Fire inspectors believe the blaze originated in a back bedroom, but its cause remains under investigation. Damages are estimated at $270,000.

“They aren’t saying yet but we think it was electrical,” John said.

Lacey is a high school teacher at Ke Kula Niihau Kekaha school. John is a big rig driver whose boss put the family up for two nights at Waimea Plantation Cottages.

Lacey said the family had just bought clothing for the kids as a thank you for their spring housecleaning over the weekend.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross and a representative from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are assisting the displaced family. Caseworkers will continue to follow up with anyone affected in the coming weeks to provide referrals, guidance or additional assistance as needed to help with the recovery process.

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