Suspects sought after fires intentionally set at two schools within hours


There were two fires at two schools overnight, and police believe they were set on purpose.

The first happened Thursday night at Kaiulani Elementary School in Kalihi. Smoke was coming out of the school’s cafeteria at around 6 p.m.

Thanks to the quick action taken by firefighters, the building wasn’t too badly damaged.

Then early Friday morning, there was a fire at Waipahu High School. An entire structure burned down by the football field, resulting in $75,000 worth of damage.

Police say both fires are still being investigated, but right now they don’t believe the two cases are connected.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that there has been an intentionally set fire at a school property,” said Capt. David Jenkins, Honolulu Fire Department. “If you recall several weeks ago, there were intentionally set fires at Kahuku High School as well — two separate fires about a week apart in time.”

State Rep. Sharon Har, vice chair of the education committee, says these fires not only hurt the schools, but the community as well.

“I think that anytime our schools are attacked in this manner, it clearly hurts our kids. It hurts the morale of the school and thereby it hurts the kids. It also takes away funding resources from the Department of Education,” she said.

In this past year’s budget, the DOE got $90 million to deal with a backlog of repairs, money Har says is badly needed.

“Obviously the $75,000, well relatively speaking, could be considered a small amount compared to $90 million. It still takes away from the other repair and maintenance backlog that should have been addressed with the $90 million,” Har said.

Har also has a plea for whoever may be setting the fires: “We ask them to please stop this activity. This is hurting our children. It hurts the morale of our schools and then all it does is take away funding from our children, which would otherwise go into their education.”

HFD says at the moment, the cafeteria at Kaiulani Elementary can still be used.

So far, according to police, there are no suspects.

If you have any information about the fires, you’re asked to contact police.

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