2006 Arson Fires Cost Millions - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

2006 Arson Fires Cost Millions

by: Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - Counting last night's apparent arson fire at Kalakaua Intermediate, 2006 will go down as one of the worst years on record for intentionally set building fires fires on Oahu.

Witnesses say kids set fire to some dead Christmas trees they piled under a portable Kalihi classroom last night.

The trees burned fast but firefighters managed to douse the flames in just six minutes.

The damage is estimated at $25,000.

Minor damage compared to June's University of Hawaii Lab School fire.

Arson investigators say someone set the brush on fire behind the school.

Captain Kenison Tejada explained, "I can tell you that the area of origin was near the backside of the theater."

That fire spread to the building and the damage is estimated at more than six million dollars.

The fire completely destroyed the performance and P-E building, which stood on campus for 67 years.

An emotional loss for student Marshall Schroeder who recalls, "I have played my instrument here, I have performed plays I will always remember."

Still no arrests in the Lab School arson fire.

Just three months later an arson fire ripped through the Waianae Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

No meetings. No worship. This fire caused two and a half million dollars in damage and disrupted a congregation.

Honolulu Police arrested three teens in connection with the arson fire. Spokesman Captain Frank Fujii says,

"We're able to make the arrest and send the message out that if you do crimes like this it's not just police and ATF and fire department that is concerned about that, you mobilize an entire community."

The 13 year-olds suspected of starting this fire, along with a 12 year-old, were also charged with breaking into the church and vandalizing it a week before.

But according to the leader of the church, even after the burglary, they never expected something like this.

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