MOLOA‘A – Emmy Sckoropad was at her friend’s house Thursday, having a pool play date for her 15-month-old daughter Himalaya, when she got a shocking call from her husband, Mingmar Sherpa, at 1:30 p.m.
“He just said, ‘there’s fire,’” Sckoropad, 21, said. “There’s fire everywhere. And I didn’t understand what he meant literally said, then he said ‘there’s fire in the house.’”
Sckoropad didn’t think of it too much, suggesting Mingmar, 24, should just put the fire out with an extinguisher. It wasn’t until Mingmar FaceTimed she understood.
“He was away from the house,” Sckoropad said. “He wasn’t near because it was so dangerous … He was at the site and I was without any words left. Himalaya at that time had just woken up at the same time probably because my reaction woke her up … It was pretty crazy. I asked him where’s Luna was. Luna is our dog, a lab.”
An hour later, Luna showed up by the top of their driveway unharmed but without a collar. The couple normally ties her up in the back of the yard, so they believe she made an escape when the fire got closer.
Sckoropad and Sherpa lived on the bottom unit while their landlord lived in the upper unit of the two-story home. Everything, Sckoropad said, in the house was lost, including Sherpa’s workshop.
“He makes crafts like Native American flutes and drums, out of bamboo and recycled hardwoods,” Sckoropad said. “He has a good friend that does tiny homes, and he collects the wood chips from there and makes the flutes. Months and months of work and inventory for preparation for a big launch in his company. He had just finally finished three days ago. The heartache in it.”
The fire in Moloa‘a on Ko‘olau Road displaced six residents on Thursday, according to the County of Kaua‘i, leaving the families with over $965,000 estimated in damages.
“(Thursday), I left my daughter at my friend’s house, and they were watching her because I trust them fully,” Sckoropad said Friday morning. “I drove down, and they didn’t let me through because they were isolating the area just to make sure that there wasn’t any gas leak, or any secondhand explosions or whatnot.”
Because of that, Sckoropad wasn’t able to visit the area on Thursday.
“It was pretty devastating. We luckily have friends who open their place for us. And I mean, we don’t have much, I have some clothes that my friend gave me and Himalaya has a few articles of baby clothes. But that’s pretty much what we have left,” Sckoropad noted.
There were no injuries reported, and residents were not at home at the time of the fire. Volunteers with the American Red Cross assisted the displaced individuals. Sckoropad said the Red Cross provided them with assistance to pay for food and a place to stay.
“That was really beautiful and supportive,” she said. “We feel mourning, a lot of feelings and attachments to different items and objects. But we’re also in awe of the possibilities and the support and it really is so important to have community and you feel so grateful to be part of this community.”
Padraic Gallagher of the American Red Cross Kaua‘i said he knew it was going to be bad because the county sent so many vehicles to the site.
“When I got the call and they said it was possible three or four units, I was a little worried,” Gallagher said. “Potentially it could be a lot of people. The house was totally lost, (but we’re) glad we could be there to help.”
Firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire to a two-story dwelling in Moloa‘a on Ko‘olau Road at approximately 1:20 p.m., on Thursday.
Personnel from the Kapa‘a, Kaiakea, and Lihu‘e fire stations; Rescue 3; Air 1; the Fire Prevention Bureau; the on-duty Battalion Chief; Kaua‘i Police Department; and the Department of Public Works responded to the incident.
A portion of Ko‘olau Road was closed for about five hours, as first responders established a post and shuttled water. Only local traffic was permitted to use the road.
According to a preliminary report, upon arrival at approximately 1:30 p.m., fire personnel discovered a two-story residence fully engulfed in flames.
Firefighters utilized Tender 1 and a tanker from the Department of Public Works and shuttled water via Ko‘olau Road to assist with extinguishment. Additionally, Air 1 used a water drop on the blaze.
Firefighters extinguished the fire and cleared the scene by approximately 5:20 p.m. At approximately 7:40 p.m., a crew with the Kaiakea fire station returned to the scene to investigate smoldering remains.
Friday, crews with the KFD Fire Prevention Bureau are on scene, as the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“It’s a big range of emotions from not being able to mentally wrap my head around what is happening, and the understanding of not being able to go back or have the things that you use on a daily basis to find stability,” Sckoropad said. “And the range of just feeling helpless towards my daughter and being like, ‘Oh, I can’t offer you your favorite book or I don’t have that binky or I don’t have your sewing machine or I don’t just small little things and so helpless.”
Sckoropad said amidst the unexpected, she feels extremely supported and loved.
“Because people are showing up in the most beautiful and generous ways,” Sckoropad said. “And it feels really beautiful and also hard because I never had to be in a situation where I needed to ask for help in this extent.”