Felony Investigation Launched into Suspicious Cane Fires on Maui
By Wendy Osher
Fire officials on Maui are seeking the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for setting eight unscheduled cane fires on Maui over the last two months.
Officials with the County Department of Fire and Public Safety say that since the rash of fires began on May 19, the fires have burned a total of 42.5-acres and resulted in a combined loss of $182,500 in crop damage at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company.
Maui police have launched felony investigations into several of the fires on suspicion of felony First Degree Criminal Property Damage, according to information released today by county officials.
The cause of the fires so far have been classified as “undetermined,” however fire department officials believe the fires may have been intentionally set because there are no obvious points of ignition, a press release said.
Although none of the incidents have resulted in injury, officials say a weekend fire in Kūʻau forced the evacuation of the Mama’s Fish House restaurant, and came close to homes in the area.
County authorities provided a list of the suspicious incidents that included the following:
- May 19, 2013, 2:35 p.m.: along Holomua Road near the Makawao Union Church
- June 1, 2013, 8:23 p.m.: along Holomua Road in two different areas 150 feet apart
- June 1, 2013, 10 p.m.: near Kamaʻāina Road and Mokulele Highway
- June 13, 2013, 10:57 p.m.: near Honoapiʻilani Highway, south of the Waikapū on 30 restaurant
- June 13, 2013, 11:44 p.m.: along Pūlehu Road, about a mile above the landfill
- June 14, 2013, 12:11 a.m.: along Kuihelani Highway, about 200 yards east of the Maui Lani Parkway intersection
- June 16, 2013, 12:45 p.m.: along Hāna Highway in Kūʻau, across the street from Mama’s Fish House
- June 18, 2013, 1:40 p.m. along North Kīhei Road near the parking triangle in Māʻalaea
Most of the fires occurred in easily accessible areas, according to information released today by the County of Maui.
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.
***Supporting information courtesy: County of Maui Communications Director Rod Antone.