Man arrested in connection with suspicious blaze in Nanakuli

(Image: Leilani Gaspar)
(Image: Leilani Gaspar)

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man has been arrested in connection with a massive blaze that destroyed one structure and damaged another in Nanakuli early Tuesday morning, Honolulu police said.

Jonathan Laronal Jr., 50, was arrested on suspicion of arson.

Honolulu fire officials believe the single-story home in which the flames originated was abandoned. Neighbors tell Hawaii News Now that it isn't the first time a fire has happened in the area and believe many of them have been suspicious in nature.

"This house has been abandoned about a year or two, but there's this mentally challenged person that keeps coming back and starting fires for the past six months," neighbor Taj Pacleb said. "We've called he police several times. He burnt down this car last week. Just yesterday, my neighbors had to put out a fire that was started."

The fire radiated and eventually spread to a neighboring two-story structure, where fire department officials say six people were able to escape. The American Red Cross is now assisting those individuals.

Nearly 50 firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire on Mikana Street, which began at around 3:30 a.m. The flames were under control within about 20 minutes, authorities say.

An 83-year-old woman sustained minor burns to her right arm while escaping. No other injuries were reported.

The fire caused an estimated $305,000 in damage.

This story will be updated.

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