House Fire Guts Ali‘i Drive Home on Thursday
May 26, 2022, 11:07 AM HST
* Updated May 26, 2:39 PM
A home on Ali‘i Drive near Living Stones Church and Royal Poinciana Drive was gutted by a fire Thursday morning. Hawai‘i Fire Department crews responded to the blaze around 9:40 a.m. and had it under control within roughly 15 minutes and extinguished within an hour, but not before it destroyed the insides of the recently refurbished single-story home.
No one was at home at the time, and no injuries were reported.
“I saw a big puff of black smoke,” said John Wolverton, who lives in the area and said he ran down to inspect from where it was coming.
He got to Ali‘i Drive and learned it was his neighbor’s house whose landscaping he looks after.
“I couldn’t even see the house, it was so much smoke,” he said.
He added that the fire moved quickly.
“Within 10 minutes, it’s gone,” he said of the contents of the home. The structure itself remained intact.
Wolverton notified the home’s owner, Suzanne Patterson, who went to the home along with the woman who rents it from her, as both she and Patterson work next to one another.
Patterson said both she and the renter had a difficult time believing it could be their home as everything inside it was new, and not considered flammable.
“All I know is, it was super fast moving,” Patterson said of the fire. “The thing is, we have tile floors, no curtains, there’s a solid wall between the front and the back that would have acted like a fire wall, we just finished an $85,000 remodel last year, everything was brand new. New electrical. We just installed new air condition … all brand new.”
Patterson spoke to fire investigators on scene Thursday morning.
West Hawai‘i Battalion Chief Barco said the cause of the fire was under investigation. It appeared that it started in the rear of the structure.
“At this time, it’s undetermined,” he said.
No other structures were damaged in the incident. The loss was estimated at $315,000.
“It’s insured,” Patterson said. “It’s just a house. The good news is, nobody was hurt.”