Two Waipahu school arson cases could be connected - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Two Waipahu school arson cases could be connected

Kent Matsumura Kent Matsumura

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the second time in two nights a Waipahu school was set on fire.  In both cases classrooms were destroyed and Honolulu police are searching for the arsonists.

People around the school think its kids on summer break with little to do and even less supervision but at this point police have not confirmed that.

On a storage room door at Honowai Elementary School there were scorch marks left behind but the flames went out.  On the classroom next door the arsonist left behind the material they tried to light, possibly shoelaces, but it didn't spread.  Then on the fourth attempt the fire took off spreading inside the classroom which was home to Sharyn Miyashiro's first grade class.

"It's pretty traumatic for the teacher it's their personal space, their work space so you get pretty attached to it as a teacher so she is taking it quite hard but she's tough she'll pull through," said Kent Matsumura, Honowai Elementary School Principal.

Inside there's damage from ceiling down to the floor, including a melted TV, plenty of charred books and learning materials.

The burned classroom is far away from the front of the school. It's also tucked away at the bottom of the hill and the only thing on the back end is this gully which could provide a quick escape route.

A neighbor saw some kids playing basketball at the courts then walked into the school moments before the fire but its unknown if they were involved.

"We don't know the reason or what people are thinking but unfortunately it affects the kids and that's a shame and it will be a challenge but we'll be fine," said Matsumura.

On Friday at 12:40 in the morning a Waipahu Intermediate School classroom was also intentionally set on fire. Police say the two fires may be related. They are following up on leads but no arrests have been made yet.

Summer school classes at Honowai were moved away from the smoky smell.  It's doubtful the burned room will renovated from crime scene back to classroom by the start of next school year in early August.

These are class 1A felony arson cases.  The penalty if convicted is 20 years in prison.

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Arson blamed for elementary school fire

Fire at Waipahu Intermediate School still under investigation

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