HFD: 22 people lived in Kalihi home destroyed in blaze

Property manager responds to concerns about site of deadly Kalihi fire
Published: Jan. 10, 2017 at 11:46 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 at 9:42 PM HST
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KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fire officials have confirmed that there were 22 people living in the Kalihi home that went up in flames Monday.

One man was killed in the blaze, which officials have determined was intentionally set.

Daniel Manuel, 58, has been charged with arson and murder charges in connection with the fire. He made his first appearance in court Wednesday, and remains in custody on $1 million bail.

According to the home's property manager, Manuel moved to the multi-level dwelling on Kalihi Street nearly three years ago. She said Manuel lived with the victim and two other men in a four-bedroom section of the main house.

"He's a good guy, but sometimes when he forgets to take his medicine, that's when he acts strange," said property manager Eve Ravelo.

Residents said he was arguing with the victim Monday before he allegedly set fire to some bedding. The flames quickly spread and fire crews later found the man's body in the living room area.

Ravelo, who is a relative of the 87-year-old owner, said she tried to evict Manuel last November after receiving complaints. According to her, his case manager from a state-funded agency asked for more time to find him a new home.

"Not only Daniel with case manager who was living here. There are more tenants here who have case managers and they come visit, inspect the place first before they bring in their client," she said.

The city cited the owner, Cipriana Luczon, twice last year for overcrowding on the property. Ravelo admitted that occupants shouldn't be living in a detached structure behind the garage, but she disputed the other violation, which involves the number of kitchens allowed and an excess of unrelated occupants.

Ravelo said Luczon planned to start correcting the problems this month.

"I know it's a hazard. I always tell my auntie we have to do all kind of background, I have to count all people, how many. We have to limit people," she said.

Authorities have not yet released the victim's name. Ravelo said the tenant moved to the property last July.

Manuel, who has been charged with first-degree arson and second-degree murder, is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. His bail has been set at $1 million.

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