Hawaii County police open arson investigation after fire destroys home known for squatters

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:58 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Police have opened an arson investigation after a raging fire completely destroyed a home in Pahoa.

The fire was reported just after 6 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Kahakai Boulevard.

The structure was fully involved before firefighters arrived and huge plumes of smoke and towering flames could be seen emanating from the house.

Witnesses said they heard explosions coming from the property, which was often occupied by squatters.

Bobby Wood, a man who was in the process of buying the house, said he had received threats when he tried to force the squatters out.

“Yesterday, the last guy said he was finally gonna go, and I asked why you still here. He said, ‘Bobby somebody’s gonna torch the house and I’m trying to stop it,’” said Wood.

“That was it. I should have listened and not played the bluff, and that’s what happened. He said exactly what was gonna happen and it happened.”

Wood said he planned to turn the home into a safehouse for victims of domestic violence.

Because of the fire, he said the structure will now have to torn down in order to rebuild.

The cost of damages is estimated at $230,000.

Police have not released any details about a suspect, but witnesses said a woman entered the home before the fire began.

If you have any information, call Hawaii County Police at (808) 935-3311.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This story may be updated.

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