Auto body shop blaze damage exceeds $500K

Police investigating Wahiawa fire
John Kino
John Kino

WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Thanksgiving night fire at a Wahiawa auto body shop caused more than $500,000 in damage.

Fire investigators said the blaze cause about $480,000 in damage to the Jetso Auto building, and about $100,000 in damage to its contents. Cars outside of the building were also scorched; investigators said the fire caused about $10,000 to the cars.

Officers took a man into custody in connection with the blaze after neighbors said they saw him leave the scene with a suspicious bottle.

"He was blocking the way, talking to other people, telling them about 'It just had to be done. I'm tired of all the B.S. going on here at the job. And I felt like it was something I had to do,'" said Wahiawa resident Chris Sandobal.

The man has not yet been charged and neighbors said he lived and worked at Jetso Auto.

Nine companies and 35 firefighters responded to the fire, which took more than an hour to put out.

The heavy smoke also disrupted family gatherings on Palm Street, near the Wahiawa police station.

"I rushed outside and evacuated my family and got them all outside into the street so we didn't have to worry about the smoke," Sandobal said.  No one was injured in the blaze and there were no cars in the garage at the time.

Fire crews were careful to use breathing apparatus when they entered the building.

"At the time of the fire, there was probably a threat of burning gas an oil and fuels and whatever fuels were in the building," said Fire Battalion Chief John Kino.

Police haven't released the man's name and aren't saying how the fire started.

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