It was a rude awakening for Maili residents as flames from a fast-moving brush fire came dangerously close to their homes.
It started shortly after 4 a.m. Friday between St. John’s Road and Kulawae Street.
The flames lit up the early-morning sky. The blaze scrambled fire crews as well as police, waking people out of their sleep.
“Loud and the fire engine heading down the road, and then following shortly after was the cop car. And I don’t know if it was premature or anything, but we heard evacuate and my wife told me to get up. So, I got up and went out and it was just a rush of lights, and you could see the red glow behind the house,” Maili resident Michael Patronis said.
The fire grew quickly worrying some residents.
“I don’t know why it was taking them so long. Water wise, I don’t know. But the flames was getting closer to the house,” Maili resident Priscilla Canianes said.
Voluntary evacuations were in place, but many chose to just stand by, ready to take action if necessary.
“We didn’t really feel threatened, but the cops still came out and did their jobs,” Patronis said. “Advised us to leave, or at least start getting ready to leave.”
The fire advanced on homes, but firefighters were able to put out the fire shortly before 6 a.m.
“A fair amount of fire was pretty close to the stuff. You could definitely see the glow and the flames licking the sky. About two blocks, yeah, that’s not exaggerating. It was pretty close,” Patronis said.
Eight engines, three tankers, and more than 40 firefighters put out the blaze.
About 40 acres of empty field were burned.
Honolulu firefighters remained on scene throughout the morning, monitoring for any hot spots.
Investigators believe the fire started on the northwest corner of the large lot.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.