(BIVN) – Fire destroyed one small home on Kou Lane in the Wainaku-area of Hilo on Wednesday, but firefighters managed to keep the blaze from consuming several other structures in the community.
When the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly after 10:30 a.m., the 600 square foot structure was fully involved, and the fire was “impinging upon another small home on the south side and a duplex on the north side”.
Fire officials say Kou Lane is a small community of 10 homes and 2 duplexes built in the 1930’s. The structures are all post and pier, built on steep terrain, with single wall construction.
The neighborhood is accessed by a walking path, which made the fire response challenging. “Due to the distance (>200′) from any apparatus, though narrow jungle paths, the fire was difficult to fight, and done so completely with hand lines,” the fire department reported. “HFD recruits (20) were brought in to assist with the overhaul process.”
According to officials, the occupant of the home where the fire began “lost power while working and found the fire burning under the home: he was unable to extinguish it.”
Firefighters concentrated on saving homes adjacent to the fully involved structure fire. “The duplex sustained only superficial damage,” the fire dispatch stated. “The single family dwelling on the southern exposure had it’s wall and attic area ignite from the heat and flames. An interior attack of the building stopped the fire from damaging it further.”
The fire resulted in the closure of Puueo Street. Residents of 3 homes sought shelter at friends, the fire department says, and the American Red Cross also responded to the scene.