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Maui police make 3 arrests in connection with series of intentionally set brush fires

Police have announced three arrests in connection with a series of internationally set brush fires Thursday in Central Maui that closed highways.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 4:05 PM HST|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 5:29 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police have announced multiple arrests in connection with a series of internationally set brush fires Thursday in Central Maui that closed highways and forced evacuations.

Steven Sarol (36) of Pukalani, Krystale Sharyan Kaneakua (33) of Pukalani, and John Hlis (34) of Haiku have been arrested in connection with the fires.

Investigators said Friday afternoon that the suspects were seen at several fire locations.

They also found surveillance of Hlis and Kaneakua entering a store and purchasing a gas can, lighter fluid, charcoal, and lysol just prior to fires.

Investigators believe the suspects were all working together.

“It is with strong confidence that we believe the persons who were responsible for starting those fires have been arrested. The investigation is still on going,” said MPD Assistant Chief Randy Esperanza.

The six suspicious brush fires were all set between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

They were fueled by strong winds and dry conditions, and quickly burned more than five acres.

At one point, several highways were closed as flames neared lanes.

One of the fires briefly triggered evacuations of homes at Wailuku Country Estates.

There were no injuries reported or damage to any structures.

“Thank you to the community for stepping up and notifying MPD. I would like to thank the Maui Police Department for your great, quick work on getting these suspects,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gavin Fujioka.

Police say all three suspects have prior criminal history including drugs, theft, and domestic violence.

“Because of the incredible citizens Maui County has, we were able to get some leads and do some assertive action and take preventative measures,” said MPD Chief John Pelletier.

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