At 5:54 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, firefighters responded to a residential structure fire on Akahai Place in Haiku.
Paia firefighters arrived at 6:07 p.m. and found smoke coming from the first floor of a two-story residence. Crews brought the fire under control at 6:16 p.m. and extinguished it at 6:24 p.m.
Two people were home at the time. A woman was using an oil lamp for lighting on the first floor. The woman came out of the shower and found the lamp on the floor and the area around it on fire. She attempted to put the fire out with a towel but left the house after she was unable to extinguish it herself.
A man upstairs in the shower, heard the fire alarm and came downstairs to investigate. He used a garden hose and kept the fire from spreading until firefighters could arrived. Paramedics took the woman to Maui Memorial Medical Center for smoke inhalation.
The fire was ruled accidental. The house cat is believed to have knocked over the oil lamp, starting the fire. Damages were limited to the bathroom area and estimated at $1000 to structure and contents.
The residents declined assistance from the Red Cross.
Tonight’s incident serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of having working fire alarms in the home. If the fire alarm had not been working properly, or if there had been no fire alarms installed in the home, the man in the shower would not have been alerted early enough to investigate or escape from the fire.
A battalion chief and three fire companies from Paia, Makawao, and Kahului responded to the fire.