Man questioned about Waiawa brush fires maintains innocence

Maitland Silva, Jr
Maitland Silva, Jr

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WAIPAHU (KHNL) - Police took a Waipahu man into custody Wednesday and questioned him about a series of intentionally-set brush fires in Waiawa over the past month. The blazes put a strain on fire crews and, at one point, flames traveled toward homes.

Officers nabbed Maitland Silva, Jr. near the area where the wildfires have been. They arrested him on suspicion of trespassing and driving without a license, and released him on bail.

Fresh out of police custody, Maitland Silva, Jr. re-connects his five-month-old pet pig, Junior. The 49-year-old says investigators grilled him about the recent Waiawa brush fires.

"I don't know why they're blaming me, but, 'cause I'm just fed up with this, too, already," Silva said.

Since August 5th, fire officials say their crews have responded to 16 wildfires in Waiawa. On September 11th, flames traveled to the south side of the H-2 Freeway, towards the Seaview residential community.

Silva maintains he's not the sought-after arsonist, and tells KHNL and K5 News he doesn't appreciate being called a person of interest in the case.

He claims he wasn't doing anything wrong when officers arrested him on a dirt road under the H-2 Wednesday.

"What were you doing in that area?" this reporter asked.

"Just go and ride dirt bike up there," Silva replied. "I go up there almost every single day, go hunting and stuff."

He says he knows why the spotlight is on him.

"My friends have a farm down there and we raise pigs down there and we had kind of like a disagreement about the pigs and stuff," he said. "I just told the guy, 'You know what? This is a lot of bulls**t. More better I just burn this place down.' But I was just venting my anger and because of that, they think I the one who burned everything."

Silva says he grew up near Waiawa and would never torch it.

"In 40 years, that place hasn't been burning, you know what I mean?" he said. "I live here 40 years and for them for say I wen burn the place, that's kind of ridiculous."

Silva says he's scheduled to be in court Monday for the trespassing and driving without a license charges, which are misdemeanors.