Arson probe underway after another Honolulu business goes up in flames

It’s at least the third time in a matter of weeks that a locally-owned shop was intentionally set on fire.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:15 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Detectives are investigating after an arsonist allegedly set fire to Central Pacific Rebuilders just before 9 p.m. Monday.

It’s at least the third time in a matter of weeks a locally-owned shop was intentionally set on fire.

From Dillingham Boulevard, you can see the damage is extensive.

“When I saw those flames, we had about two minutes to get out,” said Nick, the shop’s owner.

Nick, who asked that his last name not be used, said he set his business up on the ground floor of the two-story building. He lives upstairs with his wife and four children.

“Yesterday about 7 p.m. I heard a bunch of yelling out by the street. I looked out the window and saw some people in the bushes,” he said.

He said arguments among the homeless there are typical.

But about an hour and a half later, “I heard a lot more yelling and looked out and by that time there was a lot of flames. The bushes out here were completely engulfed.”

About the same time, he said, a smaller fire was set outside the old Dee-Lite Bakery next door.

Nick said Monday’s blaze was the second time since March campers have set fire to the bushes resulting in damage to his shop. And he’s not alone dealing with the aftermath of an arsonist.

In mid-June, someone set fire to a shopping cart outside Zippy’s Kapahulu. Flames spread to the restaurant.

Two months later, the business is still shuttered.

In early August, police say someone broke into StorKeeper Self Storage on Kapiolani Boulevard and used an accelerant to set a fire in the office, causing upwards of $75,000 in damage.

As for Nick, he’s got a big mess to clean up, too.

“It’s going to be a big project moving forward to figure everything out,” he said.

While he managed to get his business back open Tuesday, his family is forced to stay in a hotel. Much of what they own was damaged by the smoke and flames.

He has this message for fellow business owners: “Just take precautions, be vigilant. Watch out for your neighbors.”

He says he’s grateful to his neighbor, who was on the phone with the fire department so he could usher his family to safety.

If you have any information on any of the fires, you’re asked to call Honolulu police.

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