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VIDEO: Maui Fire Chief Speaks Out on Suspicious Cane Fires

Posted June 19, 2013, 11:30 AM HST Updated June 20, 2013, 02:05 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

Maui Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray is hoping the public will be able to provide a lead in a felony investigation launched into a rash of  unscheduled cane fires on Maui.

Since the incidents began in May, eight fires have burned more than 42-acres and resulted in a combined loss of $182,500 to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company crops, authorities said.

“I’d like to see the community just be aware of their surroundings in their neighborhoods and just report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary,” said Chief Murray in a press conference today.

“They may or may not see it, but they might be the lead that takes us to solve some of these issues. And we just want the people to stop because its impacting a lot of innocent people.” he said.

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray speaks to the media about the rash of fires under investigation.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray speaks to the media about the rash of fires under investigation. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“We feel it’s time to make a statement because we want to be sure that these fires stop happening, because of the safety of our firefighters as well as the community that we serve,” said Chief Murray.

“At some point, we might not be able to be there on time or its going to take us away from another emergency that could use us,” he said.

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He noted that some of the incidents have occurred within an hour of each other, “it leads us to believe that there’s something not right about it.”

Chief Murray said some items have been sent to the crime lab as part of the investigation, but said the police department will return findings upon completion and a make final determination on any charges.

“We’re just trying to keep everybody safe,” said Chief Murray.

Individuals with information about the fires are asked to call the public number for the Maui Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 244-6425.

County authorities provided a list of the suspicious incidents that included the following:

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray speaks to the media about the rash of fires under investigation.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray speaks to the media near the site of one of the suspicious fires in Waikapū. Photo by Wendy Osher.

HC&S workers were on scene this morning, attempting to salvage some of the cane burned during one of the suspicious fires in Waikapū. Photo by Wendy Osher.

HC&S workers were on scene this morning, attempting to salvage some of the cane burned during one of the suspicious fires in Waikapū. Photo by Wendy Osher.

One of the suspicious fires was reported on June 13, 2013, at 10:57 p.m. near Honoapiʻilani Highway, south of the Waikapū on 30 restaurant.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

One of the suspicious fires was reported on June 13, 2013, at 10:57 p.m. near Honoapiʻilani Highway, south of the Waikapū on 30 restaurant. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Fire Chief Jeffery Murray. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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