LAWAI — A female neighbor escaped unharmed Thursday when a structure fire broke out at a home at the junction of Kuli Road and Kaumualii Highway.
“I don’t really know what happened,” said Michelle Acosta, a neighbor of the house that was considered a total loss from the blaze. “I was watching TV when I started hearing these cracking noises like firecrackers. When I went out to check, it was the electrical that was making the noises. I went out more and saw the flames underneath the two-story house.”
Firefighters from Hanapepe, Kalaheo, and Lihue fire stations were dispatched to the scene about 1:45 p.m., arriving to the building fully engulfed in heavy smoke and flames.
“I was screaming my guts,” Acosta said. “The police came and told me I had to leave because there were bullets and I got more scared. But after I saw the flames underneath the home, I got my own water hose and started wetting down the goats — they had pet goats — the palm trees, and even my own house.” The fire was deemed under control and extinguished shortly following 2:45 p.m., and firefighters remained on scene to mop up and extinguish hot spots.
“I saw owners come running from another neighbor’s house,” Acosta said. “I was relieved to see them because that meant they were safe. But I think their dogs, a cat, and some chickens didn’t make it. This is not the way you want to start a new year.”
During the incident, police closed Kaumualii Highway between Kuli and Lauoho roads and assisted with traffic control.
Cost of damages were not available, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross are assisting the displaced family of the home.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.