Fire hits military housing, leaves dozens homeless
By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer
Nearly 30 people were left homeless after a fire swept through their military family apartment housing complex near Red Hill early yesterday morning.
When fire units arrived, the top two floors of the three-story wooden structure were engulfed in flames, fire officials said.
The fire broke out in the apartment of April Logan, who said she was awakened about 4:30 a.m. by her cat knocking items off a counter. "I looked out in the hallway, and my whole wall by my computer desk, everything was just in flames," said Logan, who along with her husband began to warn other residents.
The cat died in the blaze that gutted the middle of the building.
Military police and firefighters evacuated 11 families including 21 adults and eight children ranging in age from 7 months to 6 years old. None of the residents was injured, but one firefighter suffered a twisted ankle while battling the blaze.
Honolulu Fire Capt. Richard Soo said firefighters had the blaze under control by 5:54 a.m.
Stanley Martinez of the Federal Fire Department said he did not have an estimate on the damage to the structure but said the apartment building was badly damaged.
Investigators have not determined the cause. But based on burn patterns, the fire apparently started on a second-floor lanai and spread throughout the structure, Martinez said.
"We were unable to begin our investigation because the structure has been severely weakened by the fire," Martinez said.
The apartment complex was about 30 years old and housed about a dozen families in 12 apartment units.
The 11 military families are being housed temporarily in a hotel. Red Cross volunteers are helping the families with clothing, food and other needed items.
Reach Frank Cho at 525-8088, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.