KAHULUI - Central Maui fire crews were kept busy Sunday as they doused a house fire in Happy Valley and battled a brush fire near homes in Kahului.
In the Happy Valley fire that occurred around 3:15 a.m., a woman got out safely before the 900-square-foot wooden home was gutted, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
The fire on Holowai Place was called under control at 3:33 a.m. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was under investigation Sunday, Mainaga said, but was believed to have been accidental.
Kahului Fire early Sunday morning
Damage was estimated at $200,000 for the building, $20,000 for its contents and $2,500 for a vehicle.
The Red Cross on Sunday said it was assisting three people affected by the fire.
The Wailuku and Kahului fire crews along with the Kahului water tanker and rescue crew and two battalion chiefs responded to the blaze.
Impressive orange flames fueled by kiawe and weeds were photographed by neighbor Tobi Uehara on Sunday morning. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire but stayed over three hours monitoring the situation and checking for flare-ups.
The Maui News / Tobi Uehara photo
Around 8:41 a.m., a brush fire broke out near the Puunene Nichiren Mission on Ani Street, which is also near a portion of West Hawaii Street.
Mainaga said around 1 acre of "heavy kiawe fuel load" went up in smoke.
Witnesses said the fire came within 20 feet of some backyards and driveways in the area, alarming some residents.
Zenida Sagun was coming home from church when she saw the smoke and then the flames as she neared her residence.
"Fire, my house," she recalls shouting.
Even though the flames were gone and fire crews were just dousing hot spots, Sagun said she was still scared and worried.
Her daughter, Doris Pablo, who lives next door, said she was awakened by her mom's screaming.
"It spread fast because it's very dry and windy," Pablo said of the fire.
The Rev. Tetsudo Takasaki admitted that it was a "little scary" as he saw flames in the kiawe trees heading for his home and church before the winds blew the fire in another direction.
Seeing the flames coming toward his driveway, he moved his car out of the garage, he said while he and his young family watched firefighters douse the blaze.
The fire was brought under control at 9:30 a.m.
The Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei fire crews along with the Kahului and Wailea water tankers, the Kahului rescue crew and a battalion chief were all called out to the scene.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.