Chinatown church asks for help after nearby rubbish fire

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A church in Chinatown is making a plea for help.

There’s been a problem of trash getting dumped in and near their property, which escalated after it was set on fire Wednesday night.

This time the fire did not cause a lot of damage. But the church wants the problem solved before something worse happens.

The Honolulu Fire Department got the call and put out the rubbish fire just after ten o’clock Wednesday night. It’s not known what started it or if it was intentionally set.

Before it went up in flames there was a pile of trash inside the property of New Life Church, stretching out the sidewalk on Beretania Street.

“It’s a concern, we know that this is a hub for a lot of the homeless people. They sleep around our area,” said Maria Holstein, associate pastor at New Life Church.

Holstein says the church has been dealing with the trash problem for a long time. But the fire raises it to a whole new level.

“We would like some help. We’d like some help from either the community or the people in charge of that,” she said.

Holstein says in the past the church would clean up the mess themselves. But in this case, it has gone past their property and onto the sidewalk. Residents say the pile has been there since at least Monday and some, including the president of the neighborhood board, contacted the city.

“The city’s supposed to be coming, then they should take care of it,” said Holstein.
“Why would anybody set it on fire?” KHON2 asked.
“I don’t know what’s going on in this world now. People are thinking so differently nowadays and I know that some people may think that that’s what they needed to do,” she said.

New Life Church says it is working with other faith based groups to come up with a plan on what can be done to prevent the trash problem.They want to work with the city and hopefully prevent a similar incident before something tragic happens.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office says the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance did not know about the trash until Thursday morning. So crews picked up the burnt trash then.

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