Man in his 70s dead after fast-moving blaze tears through Waialua condo building
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man in his 70s was killed Wednesday and six people were left homeless after a fast-moving blaze ripped through the Konane Kai condo building in Waialua on Oahu’s North Shore.
HFD officials said the two-alarm blaze broke out in unit 206 of the building at 68-155 Au Street just after noon.
Firefighters arrived at the scene around 12:12 p.m. with 11 units staffed with 36 personnel.
HFD brought the fire under control by about 12:48 p.m. and extinguished by 1:04 p.m.
When firefighters entered the unit, they found a man’s body in a back bedroom. The man’s wife was able to exit the unit safely.
“We’re really unsure of what exactly transpired as far as why the husband was unable to get out and why the wife was able to safely get out,” said HFD Capt. Jaimie Song.
Sources tell HNN the husband may have been smoking in bed and his wife tried to put out the fire but could not.
“She was just screaming get out, get out, and I couldn’t even see who was in there,” said Dominick Brewster, who lives in the building and witnessed the commotion. “Smoke everywhere, people were trying to figure out what to do, everyone running down the stairs, and meeting outside.”
Other residents were also evacuated, and fire officials said several units sustained smoke and water damage.
Property manager Dennis Clarke told HNN he had known the man who died for several years, as well as the deceased’s wife and son. The man’s identity has not yet been officially released.
Konane Kai is an older condo building with a manual-pull fire alarm that alerts emergency responders but does not have an automatic sprinkler system. Individual units are supposed to have their own smoke alarm but some residents say many don’t have them.
Clarke said he’s working to help affected residents and condo owners who were not on site but worried about their properties.
Six residents of the damaged units are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Resident Nina Slocom said the incident left her shocked.
“I couldn’t believe that happened,” she said. “You never think it’s gonna happen to your house.”
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
This story will be updated.
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