Arson investigation underway after another Waikiki surf rack fire

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu police and firefighters were called around 3:52 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4, regarding a rubbish fire near the Apple Store on Kalakaua Avenue.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD), as crews were extinguishing the magazine rack rubbish fire, police officers alerted the firefighters that a surfboard rack about half a block away was also on fire.

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The second fire identified was located at Nalu’s Storage, next to Cheesecake Factory and the Outrigger Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue.

HFD reported to Dukes Lane and extinguished the blaze by 4:15 a.m. A few surfboards were destroyed in the fire, but it is unknown how much damage was caused; the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) is investigating this case as first-degree arson.

It is the third surf rack fire in the area within the last 20 months.

“My friend called me and told me there had been another fire here, between Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and Outrigger, and that’s where my board is; so I ran over to see what was going on,” said part-time Hawaii resident Patrice Pickering.

Pickering said her board was OK; she has kept her board at Nalu’s Storage for seven years and has not had any issues. She said the owner has security cameras and the area is well lit.

The owner of Nalu’s Storage told KHON2 he does not understand why people are targeting surfboards, as the sport has been an escape for so many people through the COVID pandemic.

“I just couldn’t believe when I got the phone calls and the news that this was happening,” Maurie Feldberg, Nalu’s Storage owner, said. “I don’t understand why this riff-raff is existing in waikiki to the extent it is these days.”

Most of the damage appeared to be contained to a small area near Kalakaua Avenue where a few dozen boards looked to be destroyed. HPD investigators examined the scene Thursday afternoon.

“As soon as I saw the yellow tape, I thought I’m afraid it happened again,” explained Waikiki surfer Charlie Roesner. “And it’s just really sad because it’s happened three times now.”

Thursday’s blaze happened one block from where 575 boards were destroyed in October. The man accused of the Oct. 17 incident, Glenn Helton, is still in police custody and has his arraignment scheduled on Monday, Nov. 8.

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No one was injured in Thursday’s fires, and no arrests have been made.

Feldberg hopes there is more police presence in Waikiki moving forward.

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