Firefighters battle house fire in Ewa

More than a half dozen Ewa residents have to find somewhere else to spend the night.

Their townhouse units were damaged by a fire Saturday night, four townhouse units in all.

The fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. Honolulu firefighters were on the scene within six minutes, but the devastation had already been done. Four units at the Arbors in Ewa Beach were damaged by the flames.

“I was sitting out on my lanai talking on the phone and I heard three explosions. And then I smelled smoke. Got up and looked around my lanai, saw flames and heard people yelling ‘get out, get out, get out.” witness Shellie Vaught said.

The damage was extensive.

“Two units heavily damaged by fire and two others moderate damage in this part of the building.  This is a town home, multiple unit, town home.” Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Selig said.

In the light of day, you can see clearly what the fire did to the apartments.

Army Maj. Alex Casco and his family were able to escape the flames.

“It didn’t seem like it was going to be that bad initially for us, but at the end it was. When you go to the back, everything’s gone. What I’m trying to gather is pictures and stuff it’s sooted, but it can be recovered.” Maj. Casco said.

Maj. Casco was philosophical about the loss.

“Initially, when it first happened, I wasn’t even concerned about it because at the end of the day, if it happened in the middle of the night, how could we have responded? The important thing is everybody got out and the material stuff can be replaced.” Maj. Casco said.

“Fortunately, no one was harmed by this fire. They were all able to get out without injury.  But this was a very large fire and it took a while to bring under control.” Capt. Seelig said.

Tenants in these units will be helped by the Red Cross. Damage to the units is estimated at nearly $700,000. Beyond that, the families who were displaced consider themselves lucky considering the power of the fire and the quickness with which it spread.

“It was probably the scariest experience in my life and I’ve been in the military for 19 years.” Vaught said.

It is unknown how the fire started.

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