Fire damages Haiku house

HAIKU – The kitchen of a three-bedroom house ignited in a “loud” explosion in Haiku on Sunday afternoon, causing neighbors to rush to spray water on the fire and prevent it from spreading throughout the house, a neighbor said.

“I was just sitting outside here reading and all of a sudden we heard this loud boom,” said neighbor Richard Lucas, who was with his wife, Kathy McDuff. “It was clearly an explosion, and so I went running over to Carol (Stubb’s) house right away to see what happened and if everything was OK.

“Carol came out the door and she didn’t know what happened either and 30 seconds later we saw smoke starting to pour out from the house.”

Carol Stubbs and her husband, Jim, owners of the single-story house on Hohani Place, were slightly shaken after the incident and declined to comment about the fire, while firefighters tended to their three-bedroom home.

The fire began in the kitchen, where Lucas found one side of the room engulfed in flames. He said the fire was on the countertop and was close to touching the ceiling.

“We grabbed the hose and started spraying inside and Carol was running through the house to make sure her son wasn’t there and everybody was out of the house,” Lucas said, adding that a off-duty firefighter who lives up the street assisted the family until firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames.

“We’re really grateful that it wasn’t any more serious than it was and nobody was injured. The Fire Department’s response was great, they were here very quick.”

Lucas said they tried to keep the fire away from the ceiling to prevent it from spreading, though a few chairs in the living room were burned when the fire wrapped around the kitchen.

McDuff called 911 and helped Carol Stubbs call her husband, who was away from the home during the fire.

“That’s the call you never want to get: ‘Come home, your house is on fire,'” Lucas said.

Firefighters arrived at the house around 1:30 p.m. and brought the kitchen fire under control about at 2:05 p.m. and extinguished it at 2:24 p.m., Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said. He said that the cause of the fire was determined to be electrical but accidental.

Damage was estimated at a quarter-million dollars, including $150,000 to the structure and $100,000 to its contents.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at