Smoke detectors apparently helped an 84-year-old man escape quickly from a burning home without injury Sunday afternoon in Waiehu.
Tony Liserre said his father, Richard, was in the home alone and relaxing on a reclining chair and watching sports when he heard the alarm.
"It woke him up a little bit. He looked in the courtyard and saw smoke," Tony Liserre said via cellphone.
Waiehu House Fire
When his father went to open a door toward the back of the home, he saw a "wall of flames," he added.
But the elder Liserre was able to get out of the home and fortunately had been relaxing in a room farthest away from the fire.
"Everything worked the way it supposed to," Tony Liserre said about the smoke detectors that use electricity but have a battery backup. The electricity in the home went out during the fire.
Smoke billows into the air as firefighters attack a house fire on Lower Waiehu Beach Road on Sunday afternoon. The cause of the fire was still under investigation late in the day.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
A fire official said the alarm came in at 12:27 p.m. for the structure fire at 203 Lower Waiehu Beach Road.
The Wailuku engine company along with Kahului's engine crew and Kahului's rescue and hazardous materials crews all responded. The Kihei engine crew along with the Fire Department's health and safety crew that helps with relieving firefighters during long incidents also responded, along with two battalion chiefs.
Several hours after the fire, a fire official said that a cause had not been determined and no damage estimates were available. An investigator was working the case and crews were still at the house at midafternoon.
The official said there didn't appear to be any damage to surrounding homes or property.
Tony Liserre owns the home his father was living in and lives in the home right above his father's.
Tony Liserre said he saw black smoke billowing from his father's residence.
"I ran down there, grabbed the hose and my phone at the same time and called 911," he said.
While he waited for an operator, he told his father to grab the keys to the car to move it out of harm's way.
But the garage door couldn't open because the electricity was out, Tony Liserre said.
Firefighters were able to help and the car was moved to safety, he said.
Tony Liserre said he was grateful that the fire didn't spread to his home and others, otherwise they would all be homeless.
Tony Liserre said neighbors also tried to use their garden hoses to douse the fire. He said the storage shed behind his father's residence melted.
In another fire incident, a portion of Kuihelani Highway at Maui Lani Parkway was closed for about an hour early Sunday morning because of a brush fire, according to a notice from the county. The road was closed from around midnight and opened at 1 a.m.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at email@example.com.