Police: Fatal blaze in Kalihi was intentionally set; man arrested

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
Daniel Manuel (image: viewer)
Daniel Manuel (image: viewer)

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man was killed early Monday in a house fire that authorities believe was intentionally set.

The fire broke out about 2 a.m. at 2934 Kalihi St., and took nearly 30 minutes to bring under control. It was fully extinguished by 3:40 a.m.

Firefighters found the man who died in the living room area of the street level unit in the multi-story house. (Authorities initially identified the deceased person as a woman.)

A man who lives on the property but didn't want to be identified say the victim was a friend of his and a hard worker.

"He's a good guy you know...he's a good man."

Nine other people on site when the blaze started escaped uninjured.

"We heard a commotion going on outside, and I heard one of the guys say, "fire" and I opened the door and the flames were right there," said Angel Baldonado, who lives in another unit on the property.

Police arrested Daniel Manuel, 58, for first-degree arson and second-degree murder.

The anonymous tenant said Manuel and the victim were roommates.

"Daniel is a harmless guy...never think that would happen," he said.

"Tenants of that particular residence observed another tenant lighting what appeared to be flammable liquid on some bedding within the residence," explained Lt. Phillip Lavarias of the Honolulu Police Department. "The suspect exited the residence and confronted the HFD (Honolulu Fire Department) personnel. He actually attacked one of the firefighters. He was subdued by HFD personnel as well as some witnesses and the responding police."

There are eight different units on the property, according to residents.

Meanwhile, the city says the property owners of the home are facing nearly $16,000 in fines because too many unrelated people lived on the property.

The city said in a notice issued to the property owners in March that there is a six-unit, multi-family dwelling on the property occupied by a family and 11 roomers. The dwelling included five kitchens, according to the city.

Only a home for a family and three roomers or for five unrelated people is allowed on the property.

Also, a detached structure behind the garage was being occupied without a permit.

Property owner Cipriana Luczon said a total of 19 people live on the property. The 87-year-old landlord said that she was unaware of the violations.

Luczon said her property manager tried to evict the suspect and another tenant in November. According to her, their case managers asked that the men be allowed to stay until alternate housing could be found.

"I do not want them to smoke inside the room," Luczon said. "They no clean and they argue with the other residents because one of the other residents do not like the mess."

Damage to the home is estimated at approximately $240,000.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.