Body found after suspect's house explodes in flames
Big Island police had gone to the home over a violation of a protective order
HILO » When three Big Island police officers went to the Ahualoa home of a man wanted for violating a protective order, there was a noticeable smell of gasoline coming from the house, Lt. Randall Medeiros said.
Moments after the officers called out to the man on Saturday afternoon, the house blew up, sending glass and other debris flying, Medeiros said.
None of the officers was injured, and they all tried in vain to control the fire with the small extinguishers they carry in their cars, he said.
More than an hour later, when arriving county firefighters brought the fire under control, they found a body inside, Medeiros said. The site was up a quarter-mile-long driveway off the Old Mamalahoa Highway, police and fire officials said.
But the body was so badly burned that even with dental records, authorities will need some time to confirm that the body is that of the protective order suspect. However, police have no reason to believe that there was anyone else in the house when officers arrived.
The suspect's name was not released, pending confirmation of the identity.
The protective order dealt with a family member of the suspect, Medeiros said. The fact that officers could smell gasoline may indicate that the suspect was already intending to burn down the house, he said.
When police called out to the man to establish contact, the suspect shouted back, warning them to leave, Medeiros said. The officers couldn't see the man in the house.
Several propane tanks were seen around the rural home, and the gasoline fire caused one of the tanks to explode, he said.