PEARL CITY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 35-year-old Ewa Beach man was charged with manslaughter and other crimes Thursday in connection with the Pearl City house fire that killed a 97-year-old woman.
Police say in addition to one count of manslaughter, Michael Dahilig has also been charged with three counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree arson, one count of attempted burglary in the second degree, one count of promoting a dangerous drug and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
The fire Friday, March 30, at a home on Hoomalolo Street claimed the life of Betty Hagihara.
"I'm glad he was caught and I have to thank the Honolulu Police Department and the Honolulu Fire Department for all that they did. I'm really grateful to them for putting all the time inside to really catch the guy," said Hagihara's son Ron Kawakami.
Several homes in the neighborhood have been burglarized. Break-ins became so common one man set up surveillance cameras and caught images of a man stealing items from his garage. The man in the surveillance video appears to be Dahilig.
It is unclear how the fire started, but there is speculation Dahilig may have sparked the blaze while using a blow torch trying to cut a lock to gain access to the house.
"This has been going on for quite a while, the houses getting burglarized," said Frances Yoshimura, who lives near the home that burned Friday.
"It's a big relief for have one guy that did that charged," added Charles Yoshimura.
Dahilig is currently being held on $1 million bail. He will make his initial appearance in court Monday.
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