Arson case opened in Kaimuki after reported molotov cocktail

Arson case opened in Kaimuki after reported molotov cocktail

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A family of seven was startled out of bed after they say someone threw molotov cocktails at their Kaimuki home.  An arson investigation was opened early Friday morning after the house fire broke out around 1:30 a.m., according to fire and police department officials.

Four generations of Lopes' live in the home on the corner of 16th Avenue and Claudine Street.  They were soundly sleeping when they were jolted awake by a frantic neighbor.

"He said there was a moped guy going up the road and going down and then he heard like a thonk, and then he seen fire.  Then he seen the guy, standing out there still yet on the moped watching and then he went, 'Hey! What are you doing?' And then he said the guy took off and then he came and woke us up and the dog started barking.  If it wasn't for him and the dog, we maybe would've been more worse, because I was fast asleep," described James Lopes.

Lopes says his 70-year-old father and 25-year-old son-in-law quickly sprung into action and started dousing the flames inside the kitchen with water, while he dashed outside and used to the house to shoot down the roof.  When fire crews arrived just three minutes later, they took over.

"It was way shocking 'cause if it had just happened on its own, like electrical, then ok, but that someone tried to do this – it's not one shock, it's scary," explained Lopes, crediting his neighbor and the family's dog, Nala, for keeping every one safe.

"He's just like an angel – him and his girlfriend.  They're just like angels and heroes," described Lopes, who says it's also fortunate the kitchen window wasn't open at the time.

"If it wasn't for the window being closed maybe it could have been more worse.  It stopped the bottle from coming in the house," explained Lopes, who says he turned over the intact molotov cocktail to police.  Firefighters discovered a second device on the roof, but say it didn't do any damage.

"No, no idea who would do this or who would hurt us, 'cause over here it's all quiet.  That's why we think it's random, 'cause we live closer to the road," said Lopes.

Fire officials say this is a serious crime.

"This is a very dangerous and despicable situation.  It's dangerous because of the fire spread could have put those people's lives at risk.  It's despicable because a person doing this has no regard for the danger they exposed the people to, whether it's random or intentional," said Captain Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.

Seelig says arson investigations are not unusual, but crimes involving incendiary devices do not happen often.

"To throw a device in this manner is not very common and it's very dangerous for those people as well as the person doing it.  They could be seriously harmed in their attempt to do something like this too, but we're more concerned with catching them at this time," said Capt. Seelig.

Lopes says he hopes police will find the person or persons who are responsible before the try again.

"This all can fix.  If something happened to somebody, that cannot get back," said Lopes.

The family estimates damages around $10,000 but they also won't be able to use their kitchen for several days until everything can be repaired.

No injuries have yet been reported. Police have not yet identified a suspect in the case.

If you know anything about what happened, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at: # (808) 955-8300.

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