HPD looks for arsonist in Nanakuli

7 brush fires set in a matter of hours

 UPDATED 8:40 PM HST Feb 27, 2013
Fire truck
WAIANAE, Hawaii -

Too many fires in too short a time frame -- many don't think it's a coincidence.

Charred patches mark the spots of seven overnight brush fires.  Each one started after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

"They were saying there's a fire in the back, a fire in the back!" said neighbor Edleane Ybarra.

Residents on Helelua Street said they were lucky the smell of smoke woke some of them up.

"I ran into the back to check and I didn't see nothing, so I ran upstairs to look out the window and seen the fire, and I ran downstairs and told my wife, 'fire,' and everyone woke up," said Juan Rodrigues-Wese.

The fire department said the fires flared up one after the other.

"Upon the first one, the company saw that there were three separate areas that were burning. Then the next one came in almost immediately after we were done with that event in a different location. The third one followed that one shortly after we were done, and the fourth one started before we were done with the fourth one," said Capt. Terry Seelig with the Honolulu Fire Department.

It's part of the evidence that the fire department says shows that the fires were intentionally set, and neighbors agreed.

"About 10 to 15 minutes, a second fire broke in the back of the house, so to me it was too much of a coincidence that it happened," said Ybarra.

Juan Rodrigues-Wese said he grabbed a hose and started trying to control a fire near his house before firefighters arrived.  

Although no one was hurt or injured in this fire, those living in the area said it could have become a nightmare.  

"They don't think there's people, kids, babies, over here and they are setting fire, no make sense," said Rodrigues-Wese.

"This place has gas, you know, and if the gas would go out, then this place everyone would explode in this area," said Ybarra.

The fire department said fires that are intentionally set force them to shift around resources, which makes it harder to help with other emergencies.

HPD is still investigating what started the fire.

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