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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 22, 2010

Makiki apartment gutted by fire

By John Windrow
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A fire in a fourth-floor unit at the Kinau Villa Apartments yesterday in Makiki started about 1:45 p.m., and was brought under control by 1:59 p.m.

Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Firefighters were quickly on the site yesterday of a fire in an apartment unit at 827 K´nau St. No one was injured in the fire at the Kinau Villa Apartments.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A fire in an apartment at 827 K´nau St. yesterday singed the exterior of the building and caused $125,000 in damage.

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Fire gutted a one-bedroom unit at the Kinau Villa apartment complex in Makiki yesterday. No one was injured.

The fire at the complex at 872 Kīna'u St. was reported at 1:45 p.m., and caused an estimated $115,000 in damage to the structure and $10,000 in damage to its contents, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig.

The cause was under investigation.

Wayne Yamagata, association board president, lives on the fifth floor of the condo building at Kīna'u Street and Ward Avenue.

He said he saw smoke and flames coming from the floor below him, heard the building's fire alarm go off and called 911.

"I ran down to the apartment," he said. "No one was there. The two people who live there had gotten out."

Yamagata said the fire started in the fourth-floor unit's bedroom.

He also said there was smoke damage to his condo and other units on the fifth floor.

The young couple who were displaced by the fire had no comment and Seelig asked the media to respect their privacy.

They were in the garage as fire crews cleaned up the scene and rolled up their fire hoses. The young woman sat on the concrete floor, disconsolate, clutching a laptop computer that she evidently had saved from the flames. The young man with her tried to comfort her.

They were being aided by the American Red Cross of Hawai'i.

Seelig said the fire crews were able to contain the two-alarm fire to the one unit. It was under control at about 2 p.m.

One room in the unit was burned and the rest had smoke and heat damage, he said.

"There might be some water damage," he said. Investigators were still surveying the extent of the damage, he said.

Jeremy Baker, a 22-year-old civilian employee at Pearl Harbor Naval Station, lives in the condo complex. He said he heard the building's fire alarms, ran out to the balcony and saw the smoke and flames in the nearby unit. "When the flames reached the window unit air conditioner, it blew and dropped into the parking lot," he said. "Then the flames spread up to the fifth floor."

Baker also called 911, and was told firefighters were on their way to the fire. He said they were on the scene within five minutes.

Seelig said EMS personnel treated one resident who was having difficulty breathing, but he did not know if that situation was related to smoke from the fire.