KIHEI - A multifamily home in Kihei was gutted by a fire Sunday afternoon that destroyed all of the home's contents and displaced two adults and two children.
"We don't have clothes, we don't have food, we don't have anything," resident Liezel Cambe said. "I don't know what to do."
At about 1:45 p.m., fire crews from Wailea, Kihei, Kahului and Makawao responded to a house fire at 204 Humupea Place in Kihei, finding flames coming from the rear of the home, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said. He said that the fire was under control at 3:25 p.m. and extinguished about 2 hours later.
No injuries were reported.
Cambe had been renting a back portion of the house since November and resided in the house with her two children and a man.
She said that the landlords are in the Philippines. According to county property tax records, the 2,256-square-foot property is registered to Eliseo Malinnag Bagorio II and Dina Matias Bagorio.
A multifamily home in Kihei was destroyed by fire Sunday afternoon
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Liezel Cambe (right) sits with daughter April Joy Agapay as she watches firefighters and police officers tend to her Kihei residence, which was destroyed by a fire Sunday afternoon.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Maui firefighters battle a blaze at a home in South Maui. The fire gutted the home and displaced four residents.
Maui Tunes Entertainment & Productions photo
The one-story house, its yard and fence were blackened by the blaze. The wooden structure was still standing but had holes in the roof and the windows were broken with the interior barren.
"I have no memories," said Cambe's 15-year-old daughter, April Joy Agapay, who attends Maui High School. "My cheerleading stuff, my school stuff. . . . It was all smoking, and I just started to cry.
"I was scared."
According to Cambe, she, her boyfriend, her daughter, her landlord's brother and his friend were inside the home before the fire started.
"We were doing barbecue in the backyard, talking story and eating," Cambe said of the meal at about noon. "My daughter was in the front of the house watching TV, and then I took her with me to go shopping.
"Before I left the house, I made sure everything was safe, and then my sister called me up saying my house was on fire."
"I didn't know what to think or do," Agapay said. "We raced over and I was like shaking in the car."
Cambe's boyfriend was not available for comment at the scene. The two other men did not speak English.
"When I got down here, the ambulance, the Fire Department and the police were already here and then started talking to my landlord's brother, and I had to explain to the police what he was saying," Cambe said. "I left the house and made sure I turned off everything and that's why I'm wondering what happened."
Neighbors near the house in the cul-de-sac saw the men inside the house try to fight the fire, which was coming from the rear of the property.
"Some guys passing by were yelling fire, fire," said Kasey Villa, who lives across the street from the home. "My brother and boyfriend ran out to see what was going on and there were like four other guys out there trying to put out the fire, but the house was already engulfed in flames - the back of the house, the bushes, everything."
Cory Mina, Villa's boyfriend, talked to the two men passing by and yelling about the fire and learned that they were from Oahu and on their way to Home Depot when they saw the fire.
"Nobody knew that the fire started until those two guys showed up," he said.
Mina and Villa's brother, Ruben Villa, ran across the street and saw the house go up in flames within minutes.
"We ended up running down there and saw two local guys throwing coolers of ice at the fire and one using a water hose," Ruben Villa said. "By the time we got to the back of the house, it was already in flames and when we saw a couple of propane tanks we ended up digging."
Justin Horne, who lives one house up the street, was watching TV when he noticed a neighbor running down the street toward the cul-de-sac.
"I smelled smoke, but I thought someone was cooking something and burnt it," he said. "When I went out to the street, I could see people running from the area and people across the street yelling to get people out of the house. I saw the house up in flames. . . . It was pretty bad already."
Despite losing her residence, Cambe embraced her 10-year-old son and said that she was lucky she didn't lose him, since he normally sleeps in a room near the back of the property. Agapay said that her brother was supposed to be home sometime before the fire.
"I'm lucky my son was in Pukalani with my ex-husband, because sometimes he'll go to the room and sleep without telling us," Cambe said.
The Red Cross offered its assistance to the displaced residents, county director Michele Liberty said.
"We're providing assistance with the families and things to get them through the initial disaster," she said. "Workers will continue to follow them, just to ensure their needs are met."
During the fire, Piilani Highway was closed between Kaiwahine Street and Moi Place at about 2 p.m. due to smoke obscuring visibility. The highway was reopened an hour later, according to county officials.
Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Hawaiian Telecom received calls about lost service and their crews responded to the scene around 4 p.m.
Tony Pruett, manager of Maui field operations with Hawaiian Telecom, was parked on the side of Piilani Highway near the scene of the fire and said that his company was actively trying to send a crew in to fix the singed cables running parallel to the highway and hanging above the rear of the home.
Mainaga said that the home was totally destroyed by the fire. The estimated damages are $450,000 to the structure and $150,000 to its contents.
The police Criminal Investigation Division and fire officials were conducting an investigation on the fire.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.