Officials suspect arson in Ewa fire
The burn patterns and speed of the blaze are suspicious, an investigator says
Investigators said a fire that destroyed much of the interior of an Ewa Villages house yesterday afternoon appeared to have been intentionally set.
No one was home at the time of the fire, which displaced a four-member family.
"Right now it's early in the investigation, but there are indications that this fire is suspicious in origin," fire Capt. Emmit Kane said last night.
Investigators suspect arson because of the burn patterns, the speed with which the fire spread and the amount of destruction involved, Kane said.
The two-story house, at 91-1361 Hoopio St., was engulfed in flames before firefighters arrived, Kane said.
One fire company was on its way before the fire was reported at 4:32 p.m. because firefighters saw the flames. Seven fire companies with 30 personnel responded, bringing the fire under control by 4:57 p.m.
A couple in their 50s and their two grown children in their 20s were displaced by the fire.
Relatives and neighbors identified the couple as Arthur and Florentina Pascual.
Rowena Parado, who lives next door, was working in her downstairs office when she heard noises in the house before the fire, including the sound of a metal tube hitting the concrete floor.
"I heard a boom," she said. "It shook (her house) a little bit."
"Next thing there's smoke," she said. "It was heavy, dark smoke."
Parado said she cried because the fire got so close to her house and that she worried about other older homes on the street, built close together.
Florentina Pascual had tears in her eyes as she sought refuge in Parado's carport.
Pascual's sister, Dorothy Valera, said she had called her sister on her cell phone.
Valera said, "Tina was crying. She said, 'Somebody called me that my house is burning.'"
Neighbors said there was an intentionally set fire on the same street last year in which a couple died.
Brenda Mathias, 56, co-executive director of Kokua Kalihi Valley in 2003, and Lino T. Vaivao, 55, a retired soldier and Gulf War veteran who worked as a security guard at Schofield Barracks, died in the fire.