A 69-year-old Naalehu man died after trying to put out a fire at a home on Wednesday, according to Big Island police.
At around 10:35 p.m., police and fire crews responded to a report of a structure fire on Kamaoa Road.
Upon arrival, emergency personnel extinguished a fire in the kitchen area of the residence. A man who was assisting the homeowner in attempting to extinguish the blaze prior to arrival of fire crews was found unresponsive outside the residence.
The man was identified as Gerald Erickson of Kamaoa Road. It was determined that shortly after the fire started, Erickson was summoned by his neighbor to assist in putting out a fire which started in the kitchen area.
As the residence began to fill with smoke the homeowner, Lui Salas, told Erickson to go outside and call 911. Shortly thereafter Salas found Erickson outside the house and unresponsive. Salas immediately began to administer CPR.
Erickson was later transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead Thursday at 3:30 a.m. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death and officers from the Kau Patrol Section are continuing this investigation.
The fire appears to have been started by an unattended propane stove. Damage to the structure was estimated at $50,000.00