Child with lighter sparks Nanakuli house fire

Photo courtesy Jessica Lyn

Massive flames ripped through a Nanakuli home on Mohihi Street Sunday morning.

Investigators with the Honolulu Fire Department say the fire was started by a 4-year-old boy who was playing with a lighter.

“Basically, I was just in the house and then all I was my neighbor yelling, ‘Fire! Fire!’ and yelling for her boys,” said Noelani Nakanelua, who lives next door.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, a 37-year-old woman and her two sons — ages seven and four — were inside the home when the fire started.

“They were all able to get out ok. There were some minor injuries. A scratch and some other small stuff. EMS checked them out at the scene and they refused transport,” said Battalion Chief James Perkins of the Honolulu Fire Department.

Neighbors say other residents were quick to jump into action. They grabbed the water hoses and began spraying the home until the fire department arrived.

Firefighters extinguished the flames within an hour. But during the chaos, neighbors say there was a moment of panic.

“There was a brief moment where her youngest one, we were looking for him. ‘Cause I knew there was three. And she was asking for all of her children. And so luckily we found out he’s with the grandmother. So he’s not anywhere near the vicinity. So thank God for that,” said Nakanelua.

According to Nakanelua, her next door neighbors have been through a lot over the last couple of years.

“She had just recently lost her husband a year ago. It will be two years in January. We were there for that. And to see her go through all of this all over again, I feel for her. I really do feel for her,” said Nakanelua.

“They’re shakened up. The mom is shakened up. Big tragedy. So they’re trying to adjust. Trying to understand it all,” said HFD Battlaion Chief Perkins.

“Just knowing her as personally as I do, it’s tough. It’s really tough. I really don’t know how she’s going to get through this, other than her friends and her family just being there 100 percent,” said Nakanelua.

Damage to the home and its contents is estimated at $130,000. Damage to a neighbor’s home and car is estimated at $25,000.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross met with the family and provided assistance with local transportation, groceries, and clothing.

Photo courtesy Jessica Lyn
Photo courtesy Jessica Lyn




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