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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Blaze destroys North Shore home

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

Flames engulfed a three-story house on 'Ili'ohu Way near Waimea Bay yesterday afternoon. The four people who were in the house when the fire started were able to escape uninjured.

RED MAHAN | Special to The Advertiser

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Christy McMillen hugs daughter Alexa, 3, on 'Ili'ohu Way. McMillen and her two children recent arrivals to the Islands were staying with her friend, who owns the house that caught fire.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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WAIMEA A child playing with matches is being blamed for starting a fire that destroyed a North Shore home yesterday afternoon and caused more than $1 million in damage.

The fire at 61-106 'Ili'ohu Way was reported at 5:39 p.m. The first arriving fire company reported the three-story home engulfed in flames.

Four people were in the home when the fire broke out, but all were able to get out safely. The fire was brought under control about 7 p.m.

Christy McMillen, her husband and two children had been staying at the home of her friend. McMillen said her son, 4, and daughter, 3, were watching TV on the ground floor when her son set a pillow on fire with a match.

McMillen said she and the homeowner tried to put out the fire, but it got out of control and they fled. A neighbor tried to hose down the home, but he said within two minutes the house was up in flames.

As firefighters were battling the fire, McMillen sat across the street, trying to come to grips with what had happened.

"I'm sitting here devastated," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I feel like it's my fault that we stayed here.' "

The McMillens moved to Hawai'i from Kentucky about four months ago and have been staying with various friends until they could find a place to live. They had been at the Waimea home since Sunday, she said.

Damage to the home and its contents was estimated at $1.15 million, said fire spokes-man Capt. Kenison Tejada.

Advertiser staff writer Curtis Lum contributed to this report.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.