Four honored as quick-action fire heroes

Four people were honored by the Maui Fire Department on March 16 as heroes for saving lives. The recipients of the Kahuola Award are (front row from right) Mia and Ava Cabasug and (back row from right) Kaunoa Hong and George Awana. Also in the photo are Doreen Canto, Maui County Fire & Public Safety Commission chairwoman, and Fire Chief Jeff Murray.

The Maui News – Four people were recognized for their quick action during two emergencies last year, receiving the Maui Fire Department’s Kahuola Award.

The award is given “for performing a selfless act probably resulting in the saving of a human life.”

Two of the recipients, 7-year-old Mia Cabasug and her 9-year-old sister, Ava Cabasug, stepped up to help a 2-year-old boy who was struggling in the water in a swimming pool July 3 at the Maui Banyan Inn in Kihei.

Mia saw the boy while walking by the pool. Because she isn’t a strong swimmer, she ran to get her sister, who jumped in to get the boy out of the pool. Both girls took the boy to an adult nearby.

The boy was unresponsive and lethargic, then began vomiting large amounts of water when firefighters and medics arrived on scene. The boy was found to have a normal pulse when he was transported to the hospital.

In another emergency, off-duty firefighter Kaunoa Hong and his stepfather, George Awana, were recognized for helping a woman out of a burning house in Kihei. At 2:15 p.m. Dec. 18, Hong was visiting with Awana when they heard about the fire a few houses down the street. The two raced to the home and entered the house after finding an unlocked sliding door at the back of the house.

After splitting up to each search half of the residence, Awana found a woman sleeping in a bedroom and called for Hong. Both men walked the woman out of the house before Hong re-entered the home to complete the search as firefighters arrived.

The recipients received the awards March 16 at a luncheon hosted by the Fire and Public Safety Commission at Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes in Kahului.