House in Wahiawa engulfed in flames; forces neighbors to run from exploding oxygen tanks

Fire caused $250K in damage

Published  5:24 PM HST Feb 10, 2013
Wahiawa house fire
WAHIAWA, Hawaii -

A house in Wahiawa was engulfed in flames on Sunday and neighbors say they had to run away from oxygen tanks exploding.

"It kind of looked like a war zone cause it had big fire, big sounds exploding. There was all the oxygen tanks, and a lot of people coming outside wondering what was going on," said neighbor Alan Caraelia.

"Watching the oxygen tanks flying up in the air, and the poles just blowing up, and everyone was running down this way," said neighbor Debbie Colon.

Michelle Maielua's dad's house is now destroyed.  Her brother needs medical oxygen tanks for his health. The tanks exploded during the fire and hit a car and homes next door. Her husband couldn't bare to see the damage when he got to the house.

"I already knew when she didn't call me that it was bad. I came up the line and I just thought, 'Oh don't cry,'" said Michelle's husband Solomon Maielua.  

Neighbors saw Michelle's uncle who lived behind the burning house trying to put the fire out. And others rushed to find out if anyone was inside.

"He was trying to hook up the water hose, but it was too far gone, the fire was going toward me and him back between the two houses," said Steven Grahon.

"A couple guys went to the house when it was on fire to bang on the house to make sure no one was in there, but no one was in there," said Keoki Negron.

Michelle is just glad her dad and brother are safe and weren't in the house at the time of the fire.

Damage was estimated at $250,000.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Do you want to print this page now?