Homeowner thankful no one was hurt in Ahuimanu fire

Flames cause $450,000 damage to Higa family home

 UPDATED 6:27 PM HST Oct 12, 2012
KANEOHE, Hawaii -

The American Red Cross is helping a Windward Oahu family after a fire ripped through their home.

The flames broke out around 11:45 a.m. at Hui Iwa Street in Ahuimanu.

"I just saw a fat flame when I came up.  I couldn't see the mountains," said neighbor Kameron Yano.  "I heard explosions a lot."

Flames and smoke was all neighbors could see of the home.

Neighbor Linda Debo heard explosions, saw the flames and immediately called 911.

"It was huge and it went very quickly.  It went from the back of the house all the way to the front within a matter of minutes," said Debo.

About 40 Honolulu Fire Department personnel responded to the blaze.

One man, the son-in-law of the homeowners, was home at the time and was able to escape uninjured.

"The person who was home told us that he heard what he thought was a loud... he described it as an explosion, but we don't know if it was just something bursting from heat," said Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.  "The fire rolled through the bottom floor and extended up to the second floor."

PHOTOS: Ahiumanu house fire
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Honolulu fire crews were called to Ahuimanu Friday for a two-alarm fire at a two-story house.

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Homeowners George and Mits Higa were at Longs Drugs when a neighbor called them.

"I wasn't about to answer the phone," said George Higa.  "I didn't recognize her number.  Good thing I answered.  She said, 'Oh, your home is on fire!'"

The Higas say they are thankful their son-in-law got out.  Their daughter wasn't home.

The fire caused an estimated $450,000 damage to the six-bedroom home.

"The home could be replaced.  We'll have to check with the insurance company and all that.  Good thing nobody was hurt and that's what we were thankful for," said Higa.

The Higas have lived in that home for more than four decades and say they are thankful they have good neighbors who called them as well as 911.

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