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Remembering mother, son killed in Honolulu Marco Polo high-rise - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Remembering mother, son killed in Honolulu Marco Polo high-rise fire

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A 5-alarm fire that ripped through Honolulu's Marco Polo apartments on Friday, injured a dozen and killed three people.

Among the victims who died are 54-year-old Britt Reller and his mother 85-year-old Melba Jeannine Dilley.

"I couldn't believe it.. I couldn't believe that was my last time seeing him," said Larisa Mokan, who lived on the same floor as the victims.

Just moments after the blaze broke out, we're told Reller called his Hawaiian Airlines co-workers to tell them he was hiding under a bed and unable to get to his mother.

Reller's brother watched the fire from the streets below.

"I drove down there and basically watched his floor be consumed," Britt's brother, Rev. Phillip Reller said.

Neither Reller nor his mother made it out alive.

The Association of Flight Attendants released this statement:

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) knows Britt Reller well. In his management role he referred many flight attendants in need to AFA EAP for help instead of discipline. Today Flight Attendants are remembering his electric personality and infectious smile. He was consistent throughout his career of inflight management at Northwest/Delta, US Airways/American and Hawaiian. We offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and all who knew him. He had a huge positive affect on many lives throughout aviation.

Mokan, who lived one unit over from the mother and son, says she was on her way out of the building earlier that Friday when she ran into Reller.

"As we were walking out we actually saw our neighbor-- the one that lived in 2613-- and we kind of just talked a little bit .. My daughter played with his puppy," Mokan told Island News.

Mokan says not even an hour later after seeing him, she received a phone call from her husband telling her the 36-story high rise had caught fire.

Later, she told Island News she found out not only had she lost her home, but that her neighbors were gone.

"They we're really nice people.. There is nothing more I can say.. Just condolences to their family. It's heartbreaking it really is," Mokan said.

A Facebook page dedicated to "Remembering Britt Reller" has been set up.

Already, the page has more than 1,000 members.

Many of Reller's loved ones, friends and colleagues have posted and shared some of their favorite memories and photos of him. 

As of Saturday, the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Honolulu Fire told Island News that the building only was equip with sprinklers in the garbage chutes.

Fire Chief Manuel Neves said in a press conference on Friday that if there had been sprinklers in the apartments, the fire could've been confined to the unit in which is started.

"How is it possible that a corporation doesn't install something as inexpensive and as effective as sprinkler system.. yeah, there's anger," Reller said.

The Marco Polo Apartments building was built in 1971, before sprinkler systems were required in high-rises.

Island News is still working to confirm the identity of the last victim who died.

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