Honolulu apartment fire: Survivor describes 'horror-movie' blaze

A survivor of an apartment fire in Hawaii that killed three people has described the tragedy as being something out of a horror movie.

The blaze tore through the 26th floor of a luxury high-rise apartment on Friday afternoon (local time), a building that did not have fire sprinklers.

Residents, including children and the elderly, were forced to run for safety as the building was devoured by the flames, debris raining down more than 20 storeys.

"I heard three or four women's voices screaming, just constant screaming, 'Help me, help me, help me,'" resident Ron Chiarotttino told CBS News.

Seventy-one-year-old resident Karen Hastings said it was "like a horror movie".

"Except it wasn't a horror movie; it was for real."

The high-rise didn't have an automatic sprinkler system - something Honolulu fire chief Manuel Neves said could have saved lives.

"Without a doubt if there were sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin... sometimes the room of the fire," he told CBS News.

"If the fire had started in the kitchen, it would have put it out in the kitchen."

The fatal blaze comes just over a month after another high-rise was engulfed by flames in London, killing more than 80 people.

The London Grenfell tower block also lacked automatic fire sprinklers.