Kaneohe homeowner injured in early morning fire

Longtime special education teacher suffered burns

Published  5:43 PM HST Jul 25, 2013
KANEOHE, Hawaii -

It was a dramatic escape from an early morning fire in Kaneohe.

Two women made it out of their burning home, but not without injuries.  The enormous flames woke up residents two blocks away .

“We saw the huge glow of the fire and the smoke and once we opened the windows, we could actually hear it crackling. You could hear the fire like the windows breaking and shattering,” said Lily Hess, who lives two streets over on Puuohalai Place.

Neighbors along Kalenakai Place pitched in to help put out the fire with garden hoses.

Fire fighters say the flames were quickly moving to the first floor when they arrived, but they were able to contain the fire to the second floor.

The owner of the home is identified by neighbors as Piiakea Miyamoto, a longtime special education teacher at Castle High School.  She was burned battling the fire.

A guest in the home forced her to get out.

“She was trying to control the fire when she received her injuries. The lady on the first floor woke up and saw what was going on and got both of them out.  She insisted that the first lady on the second floor leave, and they did get out,” said Capt. Terry Seelig, the Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.

Fire inspectors were back at the home Thursday morning, sifting through the ashes.  It's believed the fire started in a rear room and was contained to the second floor.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.  Neighbors were surprised the damage wasn't worse.

“For how big it looked, I’m surprised looking at it, it was only was one house,” said Hess.

Friends of Miyamoto said her burns are serious but not life-threatening and that she's doing OK despite losing her family home.

Damage to the home is estimated at $220,000 dollars.

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