A midday fire destroyed a three-bedroom home in the upper Kaumana area of Hilo on Friday.
No one was home when the blaze broke out at 143 Kualua Place, according to homeowner Jackie Uemura.
“Just a puppy,” she said, and added the animal was unharmed. “We’re very thankful the fireman found the puppy.”
Fire Capt. David Minor described the house as “a total loss.”
“When we pulled up to the front, the house was fully engulfed,” he said. “It was flaming from both sides. We worked to protect the houses on both sides from exposure (to the flames) and worked our way in closer.
“It went up really fast.”
Police closed nearby Pulima Drive to traffic between Kuakolu Street and Country Club Drive for about two hours while firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes.
Fire inspectors were investigating Friday afternoon but hadn’t yet determined the cause of the fire.
Uemura said her son and his family lived at the home which the family built in 1976.
“You always think this is going to happen to somebody else,” Uemura said, tearfully.
According to county property tax records, the assessed value of the 1,200-square-foot home with carport was $95,800.
American Red Cross volunteers responded to help the displaced family with emergency food, shelter and clothing. Caseworkers will continue to follow up with anyone affected in the coming weeks to provide referrals, guidance or additional assistance as needed to help with the recovery process.
The Red Cross encourages all families to make a disaster plan to include an evacuation plan with two routes of escape, a communications plan to help families reconnect after disaster and a readily available disaster supplies kit. Information on developing a family plan is available at redcross.org; a brochure can be requested by calling 734-2101.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.