Candle Sparks Lānaʻi Home Fire

December 16, 2016, 4:37 PM HST · Updated December 16, 4:37 PM
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Maui Now graphic by Wendy Osher.

Firefighters on Lānaʻi responded to a residential structure fire in the Palawai Basin, about one mile east of Mānele Road at 6:50 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

When firefighters arrived at 7:02 a.m., the small one-story dwelling was fully engulfed in flames. Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said that the lone male occupant made it out safely and was not injured.

Firefighters brought the fire under control at 8:04 a.m. and called it extinguished at 11:30 a.m.

The cause of the fire has been classified as accidental.

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Fire officials say the home was a total loss, with damage estimated at $5,000 to the 400 sq. ft. structure and $2,000 to its contents.

The 50 year-old Lānaʻi man who lived in the dwelling alone, said he had a candle burning in the bedroom and left the room for short time. Fire officials say that when he came back, there was a small fire burning between the wall and the bed. The man tried to put out the fire using a pot of water but the fire grew quickly and he was forced outside by the heat and smoke, said Taomoto.

The man’s brother had just arrived to help care for the family’s animals and also tried to help extinguish the fire, but the fire was too far along by then.

The resident will be staying with family members. The Hawaiʻi Red Cross is also assisting the man with his immediate needs.

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