Lightning strikes house, leaves a hole in bathroom

KAHULUI – Kahului resident Uilani Endo was standing in her bedroom Monday evening, contemplating what she needed to take downstairs, when she saw a bright blue flash of light crash through her bathroom just 15 feet from her.

A deafening boom shook the house, she heard glass shattering and then everything went dark. Endo grabbed her daughter from the next room and ran out of the house, screaming.

“It was like a blue line that went right through my bathroom, it streaked right through the house, I yelled for my daughter and told her we had to get the hell out of the house,” Endo said, as police and firefighters responded outside her home on Kipapa Place.

Endo’s house was hit by lightning at about 6:15 p.m. Monday, as Maui residents began seeing the first signs of Tropical Depression Flossie’s late arrival.

Kahului and Wailuku firefighters responded to the 6:17 p.m. alarm, finding a hole about 5 inches in diameter that went through the roof, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

The lightning struck through and shattered a glass window louver located high above the bathtub in the master bathroom on the second floor of the home, Endo said. She, her husband, daughter and tenant were inside the house when the lightning struck.

“I was just freaked, all I could think of was to get my daughter out of the main house,” Endo said.

Her daughter, 21-year-old Kanoe, was in the next room when the lightning beamed through her mother’s bathroom. Just five minutes earlier, she had been texting on her cellphone inside the bathroom where it struck.

“I was just thinking, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Kanoe Endo said. “I never thought that would happen in my life.”

Neighbors Kayla Cameron, 10, and Alicia Gaoiran, 16, were in their garage when they saw lightning hit the house.

“It was so scary, I thought someone got struck by lightning at first,” Kayla said just minutes after the strike. “We saw it strike twice in the same place at the house.”

“We just hope and pray no one got hurt,” Gaoiran said.

After Flossie initially hit Central Maui around 5:45 p.m., there were reports of lightning striking the ground and buildings in the area. Mainaga said firefighters responded to a 6:53 p.m. report of a building hit by lightning at Amala Place and Hobron Avenue in Kahului but didn’t find anything hit.

“It’s pretty terrifying,” said Bill Tavares, who spoke to The Maui News from his home in Kuau as lightning thundered down 5:45 Monday evening. “It’s the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in all my life and I’m almost 92.”

Fortunately, Tavares and his family had taken the appropriate precautionary measures – they had stocked up on water, canned food, flashlights and other essentials they needed.

“We were thinking that the news outlets, they made it such a big deal and it never hit,” said Mary Beth Costales, Tavares’ daughter who was in the house with Tavares as the storm continued to rage outside. “I was upset earlier when I went out to a restaurant for lunch and it was closed . . . Now, in retrospect, weather is one of those things that is unpredictable, you just don’t know.”

“When I heard the first thunder clap, I heard my husband in the next room go ‘whoo hoo!’ but I don’t think he’s doing that now,” Costales said. “It (Flossie) finally came.”

* Eileen Chao can be reached at