Fire destroys Lawai home

LAWAI — Four people were displaced after a fire destroyed a Piko Road home Tuesday morning.

Firefighters from the Kalaheo Fire Station responded to a call about 3 a.m., and found the three-story Lawai home fully engulfed in flames, according to a release from the Kauai Fire Department.

When emergency firefighters arrived, neighbors were already trying to control the blaze, and witnesses said the fire spread rapidly. No one was in the home at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Laurie Conner, who lives next door to the house, said she saw 50-foot flames from her balcony.

“It was horrific; almost like fireworks,” Conner said. “I’ve never had a fire so close to me before. I’m still in a state of shock.”

Conner, who moved to her house about five months ago, said it was lucky her house didn’t sustain any damage.

“Flaming debris landed on our roof. I thought for sure it was going to go down,” she said.

She credits the quick actions of the firefighters to keeping her house safe.

“They did an amazing job containing it,” she said.

Crews from the Lihue and Hanapepe fire stations, in addition to the on-duty battalion chief, representatives from the Fire Prevention Bureau and police responded to the scene, according to the release. The fire was extinguished just before 6 a.m., but crews remained on scene to monitor for hots spots and clear water and debris from the property.

“Fire trucks lined up along side the entire road,” Conner said.

On Tuesday morning, the smell of smoke emitted from the 3,000-square-foot house, which was still covered in ash. Charred remains of furniture and electrical appliances stood in a pile in front of the door. Fire inspectors consider the home to be a total loss and estimate damages to the structure and its contents to be $700,000, the release said.

The fire is believed to have started on the first floor, but the cause remains under investigation.

Two volunteers from the Kauai Red Cross were on scene, and provided assistance with temporary housing and immediate emergency needs, like helping people with financial needs, said Padraic Gallagher, director of disaster services for Kauai Red Cross.

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, according to a release from the Kauai Red Cross.

In the hours that followed the fire, neighbors were evacuated from their homes so firefighters could make sure their houses were safe.

“We were allowed to grab a couple of things, but that was it,” Conner said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, neighbors were allowed back in their homes, but Conner and her family plan to spend the night at the Koloa Landing Resort.

“I’m freaked out about hot spots, so we’re going to give it a night to make sure everything is safe,” she said.

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