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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10:40 a.m., Thursday, October 11, 2001

Man killed in Kapahulu fire

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 22-year-old man was killed in a house fire in Kapahulu today, while his 24-year-old roommate escaped from the early-morning blaze.

One man died and another escaped after a fire broke out at 3145 Duval St. in Kapahulu this morning.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

Forty firefighters from 10 fire companies responded to the 4:45 a.m. alarm at 3145 Duval St. and had the fire under control at 5:08 a.m., said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

During a search of the home, rescue crews found the body of the man, identified by friends as Ian Cruz. Fire officials believe he was trying to escape through the front door but couldn’t get out in time.

“It was a fast-burning fire,” Soo said. “One man woke up and was able to get out. He didn’t know his roommate was home.”

The survivor, identified by friends as Eric Pisaro, awoke to the smell of smoke and ran out of the burning house yelling for help, Soo said. Pisaro told fire officials he had gone to sleep before his roommate came home and had no idea Cruz was still inside the burning house, Soo said.

The two college students from Guam had been renting the house with another man for more than a year, according to friends. Cruz had attended Hawaii Pacific University and formerly worked at Tower Records in Kahala Mall, said friend Brandon Gabriel.

“They were just young students from Guam trying to get a better education,” said friend Ikaika Kincaid, who lives across the street on Campbell Avenue. “I had some good times at that house. We would throw darts until late at night.”

American Red Cross officials and friends offered help to Pisaro, who was escorted from the scene with a group of friends and his uncle.

Fire officials believe the fire started in the living room or kitchen, and were looking into the cause. The blaze caused part of the roof to cave in, and fire officials were worried the house could collapse, Soo said.

Kincaid said he awoke to “loud pops” — possibly from electrical lines — and heard a “big explosion” when the fire trucks arrived. He said the flames reflected off his windows and illuminated his apartment.

“The fire lit up this whole area,” Kincaid said. “The flames were about 30 feet in the air, just billowing out.”

It’s unclear whether the home had a smoke alarm, Soo said, adding neighbors heard alarms but weren’t sure which house they were coming from.

Damage was estimated at $210,000 to the structure, $40,000 to contents and $30,000 to a rear cottage. Neighboring homes at 3403 Campbell Ave. and 3141 Duval St. had $1,500 and $15,000 in damage, respectively.

Arson and homicide investigators said the fire did not appear to be linked to foul play.

It was the second fire fatality this year, and the first in a building fire, Soo said. In August a 20-year-old man died after being severely burned in a flash fire at an auto body shop near the airport.